'I was in the presence of something pretty special': Ryan Tubridy pays tribute to Laura Brennan

Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy paid an emotional tribute to HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan on his RTÉ radio show this morning.

“This is just a desperate scenario. There's something about Laura Brennan, there's something about that positivity that will linger a long time in the minds of many of us.

"People are saying that they got their son or daughter vaccinated because of Laura, that's a win for Laura, that's a win for her family, for her legacy.”

Mr Tubridy began his show with the tribute.

“I want to start with my thoughts on Laura Brennan, she was someone who touched a chord with people around this country in the last year or so, she died yesterday at the age of just 26 after a long problem and struggle with an illness she probably shouldn't have had.

“The point I want to make is a positive point and that is to say that her short life was one that had a big impact.

"She came to our attention, to my attention when she was a guest on the Late Late Show last April, she was just quite simply one of those extraordinary people that stand out.

“You meet people day in, day out, I meet people in the shops, I meet people on the street and I meet people in work, I interview people on this programme and meet people on the television show, they all bring something different to the table, but what she brought was almost a souped up version of ordinary people which makes her extraordinary and made her extraordinary as she campaigned encouraging people to get the HPV vaccine.

The words I would use to describe meeting her, because she was so striking, was kindness, and positive and empathetic and warm and relentlessly optimistic despite what she had to face.

"That's what made her different, that's why I remember as we stood together posing for pictures in the Green Room after the Late Late Show, I thought I was in the presence of something pretty special and I was.

“The reaction to that interview from people around the country was phenomenal and the reaction was to her clearly, to Laura and what she had to say and how she said it because when you're down and the chips are down and when you're struggling you can really go down one of two roads, you can either go 'the world is conspiring against me, why me, I don't want this to happen to me’ or you can go down the other road which says ‘this is my lot, and I'm going to do something with it.’

“Her great ambition in life was to work at a make up counter, she got it, she was obsessed, and I mean that in the right way with The Greatest Showman, she loved it, when she came on the show she walked on to the song This Is Me, one of her favourite songs.

"The other thing she wanted to do in life was to go to Copper Face Jacks and she did, she got to go, she got the gold card.

“I don't how she did it, but she managed to get on the Toy Show and it was The Greatest Showman, and rightly so because she had a limited time on this earth.

"She knew she had between two and three, maybe four years, to love, but it was much shorter than that as it turns out, there were times when she came close to leaving this world and she fought back, I'm conscious of the words fighting and fighter and battler and these things because people who are sick tend to hate those words. I'm not going to get into that.

“But she was Olympian in her positivity and that's why I want to start the programme to talk about her this morning and remember her properly.

"To remember just what the impact of her words were to have on the uptake of the HPV vaccine was enormous.

“We had hoped to talk to Laura on the Late Late Show in the last few weeks but her health was ailing, obviously we didn't want to jeopardise anything to do with how she was and how she was doing.”

Mr Tubridy urged that people not lose sight of the message about the importance of vaccination, “this was the message that Laura wanted to bring to the world, and she did.”

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