The life and legacy of Laura Brennan has been remembered today on the first anniversary of her death.
The Ennis woman lost her battle with cervical cancer at the age of 26 and has been widely credited with restoring public confidence in the HPV vaccine due to her advocacy work.
Laura Brennan was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in December 2016.
At the time, the uptake for the HPV vaccine, which she hadn’t been given, was at just 51%.
Realising how preventable her own cancer was, Laura became concerned with the low uptake and contacted the HSE in September the following year to offer herself as an example of why parents should be getting their children vaccinated.
Laura’s battle with cancer ended just over a year into the campaign, but by then there had already been a sharp rise to uptake levels to 70%.
Six weeks before she died, Laura told Clare FM’s Morning Focus that she was committed to continuing that upward trend.
On March 20th 2019, Laura passed away.
Her death was mourned across the country and her funeral attended by the Aides de Camp of both the Taoiseach and President, and by Health Minister Simon Harris.
Laura’s life-saving work was marked in Dáil Éireann on the morning of her funeral, and the Health Minister told Clare FM that her importance in restoring confidence in the vaccine could not be overstated.
Laura’s work continues to be felt a year after her death.
HPV Vaccine uptake levels have increased to 80% nationally, and even further to 90% in Clare, which the HSE recently said was “a wonderful testament” to Laura’s “selfless advocacy”.
The Brennan family’s work in continuing to honour her legacy were also acknowledged by the HSE.
Her brother Kevin says they’re proud of what she has achieved.