I hope you are all keeping safe and well and enjoying a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.
I am reaching out to send one final heartfelt thank you to every one of you for all of your support in 2022.
As I mentioned in our December newsletter, it was another challenging year for us here at the Marie Keating Foundation, but with your support our small but mighty team have been able to persevere through COVID-19 and through the current cost of living crisis continuing to support the 45,000 people impacted by cancer every year in Ireland with our awareness and support services.
We could not be there for cancer patients and their families at every step without your support so thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Despite the challenges faced, 2022 has been a year of building positive relationships, pulling together and reconnecting. We are incredibly grateful to have our nurses back in the communities and schools around Ireland increasing awareness and offering vital support. We are also overjoyed to have been able to host in-person events and support meetings again particularly for some of our patient support groups.
We are privileged to see so much love, hope, joy, connection and support within our groups, events, and fundraisers. We also share in a lot of sadness, pain and loss. This is something strongly felt this year with the loss of some dear friends and ambassadors. I would like to pay a special tribute to some of them today.
Since 2015, Roisin was a wonderful ambassador and friend of the Foundation. She took part in our ‘Out the Other Side’ breast cancer initiative, she helped us to host our Breast Cancer Garden at Bloom and joined our Survive & Thrive programme. When her cancer returned, she was a valued member of our Positive Living support group.
As much as we supported her, she supported us, and we are so grateful to her for how open she was with sharing her story and raising awareness of breast cancer.
Tom took part in our 2017 Skintervention skin cancer and melanoma campaign and he was so generous with his time helping us promote the key messages of the campaign. His kindness and warmth made such a positive impact on all the entire team and everyone who had the privilege of meeting him.
We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the courageous Lynsey who fought not only to live longer and have more time with her beloved children, but also so that others would not have to face what she and so many other Irish women went through. Lynsey lived beyond her 6-month prognosis making waves toward change and to make as many memories with her family as she could. The impact of her fight will live on supporting countless Irish women for years to come.
The loss of Vicky Phelan was felt deeply throughout the country but also within the team at the Marie Keating Foundation, as a friend, advisor, supporter, and inspiration. On a personal note, as a 221+ Steering Group and founding member with Vicky, I had the privilege of standing with and fighting alongside her in the battle for truth and change. We will continue this work for Vicky and the women of Ireland.
Vicky was one of a kind, a woman of enormous heart and courage who will be remembered by us all as someone who strived for better and was unrelenting in her pursuit of justice and a better healthcare system for women all around the country.
Vicky has left an indelible mark on Irish society and her efforts on behalf of women to improve open disclosure and our screening systems will live on in her name.
Our thoughts this Christmas are with the family and friends of Roisin, Tom, Lynsey, and Vicky and all of those who have been impacted by loss this year. May those who have passed rest in peace, and may their memories and legacies live on.
Loss is as much a part of life as birth and while we celebrate the lives and legacies of those who have passed due to cancer, our focus is on how we can best support those living with cancer and living beyond cancer.
We see so much hope in new treatments and support services available around Ireland. We see a society becoming more aware and advocating for their health. That is why we focus so strongly on increasing awareness of signs and symptoms, treatments and supports available and highlighting the importance of early detection to support better outcomes.
With that in mind I have one final ask and that is for a simple signature. A signature that could help to save more lives.
We need your voice to call on the Minister for Health to introduce free lung screening in Ireland for people who are at a higher risk of the disease.
A comprehensive lung health check (lung screening) for those at high risk can find lung cancer earlier than when symptoms appear, giving treatments the best chance to save a life. We can’t accept preventable cancer deaths any longer, we need to look at the evidence from other countries that shows how screening saves lives.
Please sign our petition HERE today and add your voice to the call to save more people from lung cancer in Ireland.
We thank you once again and wish you a Christmas full of joy, connection, and contentment. After the years of COVID, the biggest present to give to our loved ones this year is being present.
We are looking forward filled with hope ready to take on 2023 united in the common goal of supporting people and their families at every step of a cancer journey in every way we can.
From all of us here at the Marie Keating Foundation, we wish you and yours a very safe and happy Christmas and a healthy New Year, and please know that if ever you or your family need us, we are here.
Marie Keating Foundation