Marie Keating Foundation at Bloom through the Years



We are delighted to be looking forward to our 4th year at Bloom in the Phoenix Park, putting a spotlight on lung cancer in Ireland with out Breath of Life Garden. With thanks to sponsors MSD and co-sponsors Flogas, the garden aims to raise awareness of lung cancer, recognising its low survival rates and position as Ireland biggest cancer killer, while also highlighting the hope that exists with new treatments and better understanding of its signs and symptoms.

The Marie Keating Foundation ‘Breath of Life’ Garden Tells the Story of Lung Cancer in Ireland at Bord Bia’s Bloom

The garden aims to raise awareness of lung cancer, recognising its low survival rates and position as Ireland biggest cancer killer, while also highlighting the hope that exists with new treatments and better understanding of its signs and symptoms

Dublin, May 30th 2019 – The Marie Keating Foundation today unveiled their ‘Breath of Life’ garden at Bord Bia’s Bloom. Designed by award-winning designer Tünde Perry, the garden aims to throw the spotlight on Ireland’s biggest cancer killer, lung cancer. The multi-coloured garden highlights the stark reality facing many of the 2,564[i] men and women diagnosed with lung cancer each year, as well as the hope that exists with the advent of new treatment options and greater awareness of its early signs and symptoms

Sponsored by MSD and Flogas the show-garden also aims to promote the important role that healthy eating, exercise and quitting smoking can play in reducing a person’s risk of, not just lung cancer but, all cancers.

Commenting at the unveiling CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation Liz Yeates said “this is our 4th year at Bloom and we are delighted to be here again with our lung cancer ‘Breath of Life’ garden. Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer related death in Ireland and yet it historically hasn’t received the same level of attention as other cancers. The lack of awareness of signs and symptoms of lung cancer as well as a stigma element mean that many people present at late stage resulting in poorer prognosis and survival rates. We hope our garden at Bloom will help put a much-needed spotlight on lung cancer, highlighting the importance of early detection and the advancement of new treatment options but also the importance lifestyle choices can make in helping to reduce a person’s risk.”

The ‘Breath of Life’ garden is number 16 in the show garden area and a central feature is the four-meter high sculpture, which reaches out over the garden, representing the lungs and the support that is needed for patients when they are on or recovering from a lung cancer journey. The covered patio area in the garden is clad in charred timber to reflect the pervasive nature of lung cancer as the biggest cause of death in Ireland. This is also echoed in the dark coloured flowers used throughout the garden. The outdoor patio area can be used for BBQing all year round, and this space reaffirms the importance of a healthy diet and other healthy lifestyle factors in preventing and combatting cancer. The natural swimming pool, which contains no chemicals, is an area for exercise and relaxation reinforcing the message of healthy choices in reducing your risk of cancer. It is also as a space that focusses on the importance of reflection and mindfulness during a cancer journey.

Throughout the five days, the garden will be visited by lung cancer survivors and families affected by lung cancer, including Michael Byrne who had his right lung removed after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015.


Michael says “picking up on my persistent cough and going to see my GP, saved my life. Things could be a lot different if I had delayed getting help. I would urge anyone with concerns or something they feel isn’t normal for them, to go and see their doctor. I am so grateful to be here today to be able to enjoy spending time with my friends, riding my motorcycle and enjoying my wonderful family, my 12 grandchildren certainly keep me on my toes!



The Marie Keating Foundation’s mobile information unit will also be located at the main entrance of Bloom each day and its nurses and volunteers will be speaking to the public about ways to reduce their risk of cancer and educating about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer. Members of the public will be invited to pay tribute to a loved one affected by cancer, by pinning a personalised ribbon to the tribute wall at the garden.

Ger Brennan, Managing Director, MSD Ireland said “We are delighted to sponsor the Marie Keating Foundation garden in Bloom for a second year running. Lung cancer is a disease that badly needs additional focus and awareness building to ensure survival rates improve. We hope that the “Breath of Life” Garden will play an important role in raising awareness of this condition.

In addition to the garden, we have also sponsored research on the experiences of patients with stage three and four lung cancer patients which also identifies some key learnings and recommendations for policy makers with a view to improving the outcome and experiences of those touched by lung cancer.

The work conducted by the Marie Keating Foundation to raise awareness of its signs and symptoms is crucial and it’s something we very much support. New treatment options, give great hope to lung cancer patients and hopefully with improved access and better awareness, we will finally see the survival rates of lung cancer begin to improve.

A host of Irish chefs will take part in cookery demonstrations from the BBQ area in the garden, cooking up delicious healthy recipes. These include:


  • Zack Gallagher
  • Edwards Hayden
  • Tara Walker
  • Neven Maguire
  • Brian McDermott
  • Adrian Martin





Flogas co-sponsor the garden and Eoin O’Fynn, Marketing Manager for Flogas Ireland says “Flogas are delighted to partner with the Marie Keating Foundation for their Breath of Life Garden at Bloom 2019. Throughout the five days Flogas will sponsor a series of Healthy Eating and Gas Barbeque Demos from top cooking talent.”

New lung cancer patient research is being launched on Friday May 31st at a breakfast event at Bloom. The in-depth qualitative research, sponsored by MSD, focusses on the experiences of stage three and four lung cancer patients in Ireland and highlights some key learnings and recommendations to policy makers, in an effort to improve the outcomes and experiences of those touched by lung cancer.




SunSmart Garden

With thanks to MSD, we focused for our third year at Bloom on the important message of being SunSmart with our yellow themed SunSmart Garden. This garden aimed to make the public, young & old, male & female, aware of the importance of protecting themselves in the sun

A big feature of the garden was the Pom Pom oak tree offering shade from the sun which is represented by a 2 meter inflatable which could be seen from far and wide. Member of the public were invited to ‘tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree’ or to buy a hat and to wear sunscreen. The uphill pathway in the garden represented the twists and turns of the cancer journey. Whatever your age, whether you are male or female, our yellow garden was designed to raise awareness of the fact that skin cancer is very preventable and to highlight the importance of being SunSmart. Using trees and canopies for shade as well as umbrellas, hats & sunscreen, we asked people to protect themselves in the sun.

MKF ambassadors Dublin footballer Johnny Cooper and former Kilkenny hurler Eddie Brennan, visited the garden to promote the message of being safe in the sun when you play or watch sports outdoors.


Heroes of Hope Garden

For our second year at Bloom, we developed a Heroes Of Hope garden to offer hope to people affected by cancer and inspiration to men to talk about their health.

Inspired by the Heroes of Hope exhibition which features the positive stories of 14 cancer survivors from all around Ireland, the garden had a positive and hopeful message highlighting the fact that thanks to early detection and advances in treatment, more and more men are surviving cancer. In this way the garden aimed to continue to shine a light on cancer survivorship and to give hope to others affected by cancer.

The Marie Keating Foundation garden also highlighted the Foundation’s men’s health campaign and its work with men. Every year 10,948 men are diagnosed with cancer and the Foundation’s nursing team educates men and women on the signs and symptoms of the common cancers affecting men (prostate; colorectal; lung, skin and testicular cancers) and what steps men can take to reduce their risk of cancer. The garden has flowers in all different shades of blue and a cross-word theme portraying some inspirational words and messages, the key message being one of hope attributed to the increase in survival rates of cancer. The garden entitled “Heroes of Hope” naturally has a blue colour scheme, which has dark and light shades, reflecting the emotional journey of cancer survivors.


Out the Other Side – A Garden of Hope

Thanks to the kind support of Roche, we had our first ever garden at Bloom. Out the Other Side: A Garden of Hope was designed to offer hope to people affected by breast cancer.

The stand out features of the garden designed to inspire hope were a Pink Bench as well as a specially created Bra Hammock:

  • The Bra Hammock, designed and created as part of a collaborative project between The National College of Art and Design and The Rediscovery Centre, has been repurposed from bras donated by women all over Ireland as part of the Marie Keating Foundation and Roche’s ‘Give Your Bra for Breast Cancer’ campaign
  • A Pink Bench and Ribbon weave throughout the garden, representing the journey from diagnosis to recovery. On the back wall of the garden, quotes from the ten women featured in the Out the Other Side photographic exhibition were used. They are quotes of elation and anti-climax, which are happy and sad, funny and irreverent, and filled with confusion, guilt and gratitude. Because just like breast cancer, we know that no survivor’s journey is the same.

The Out the Other Side exhibition, developed by Roche in partnership with the Marie Keating Foundation, featured the stories of ten brave women who have survived the disease. This exhibition was displayed along the Main Avenue of Bloom.

Read more about the Out the Other Side exhibition and the ten women who inspired it.

The garden was designed by Tunde Szentesi. You can find her website here: Tunde was helped in the garden construction by Saxa Landscape.