HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan has been remembered as "a selfless giver" who loved "the excitement of life" at a mass in celebration of her life in Co Clare today.
The mass for the 26-year-old in Ennis Cathedral was led by Father Pat Malone who paid tribute to her tireless campaigning for the vaccine and the kindness she exuded in all aspects of her life.
In his homily, Father Malone described the things Laura enjoyed doing:" We need to remember that Laura loved life, the excitement of life, the parties, the holidays, the concerts, the weekends away, time for personal pampering and of course high quality beauty products," he said.
Laura was described as "a gift from God" to her friends, those she reached in advocating for the HPV vaccine and those who benefitted from her kindness.
"Her personal goodness was evident all through her life and it was not unknown for her to reach out to a homeless person on the street, stopping to talk and check if it was tea or coffee that would satisfy the immediate need," Father Malone said.
So the courage, the awareness of the needs of others and the willingness to get involved in doing good which enabled her to engage as an advocate for the HPV vaccine was in action all her life.
Father Malone said "so many people in our country, and those in the health services, owe a huge debt of gratitude" to Laura for "so passionately [promoting] the call for women’s healthcare in our country and indeed abroad".
He described the "passion", "courage" and "bravery" she displayed when facing the challenges and adversity of her illness.
She "threw herself into promoting the HPV vaccine" and "with courage and dignity she accepted what she could not change and focused on trying to prevent the same fate visiting other young women and men".
"We see her great desire to help prevent what is preventable and in that task she was a selfless giver who spent her energy to the last so that others may be spared the ill health that she experienced," he said.
"In this manner of selfless giving she demonstrated the greatest Christian value of all, that we do onto others and wish for others as we would for ourselves.
Laura Brennan is testimony to a great truth that “one person can make a difference.
Father Malone praised Laura's family for the strength and care they showed throughout her two-year illness and for raising her to be kind.
He said it is clear that Laura would ask those in attendance to be advocates of the vaccine and to encourage those eligible for it to receive it.
"May her good work continue to bear fruit and may her gentle soul rest in peace."
HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan was laid to rest earlier today.
A mass of remembrance and celebration of her life is to take place in Ennis Cathedral shortly.
Laura died last Wednesday after a battle with cervical cancer.
The 26-year-old campaigned for the HPV vaccine since her diagnosis.
Both the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins will be represented by their Aide de Camp at the service.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar interrupted Dáil business this afternoon to pay tribute to her.
"As you know she died from cervical cancer but worked very closely with the health service to become a really powerful advocate for HPV vaccination," said Mr Varadkar.
"Because of her we were able to increase the uptake again of HPV vaccination.
"While sadly she has lost her life, I believe her actions will save the life of many people."
We are all deeply saddened to learn of Laura Brennan’s death, and we send our deepest condolences to her family and friends. #ThankYouLaura for all you have done. https://t.co/iFpiQh7W6p pic.twitter.com/W8Rxd2aocv— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) March 20, 2019
HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan to be laid to rest
The funeral of HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan will take place later today in Co Clare.
The 26-year-old passed away in hospital last Wednesday after a battle with cervical cancer.
Laura Brennan was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 2B in December 2016.
Since then she vigorously campaigned for the HPV vaccine.
In a recent HSE video, Laura explained that it protected against HPV 16, which she was diagnosed with.
Earlier this month, new figures showed a 20% increase in the HPV vaccine uptake in just over two years.
Upon her passing last week, President Michael D Higgins and Health Minister Simon Harris were among those to pay tribute to Laura for her work in raising awareness of the vaccine.
Her funeral service will take place later today in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ennis, Co Clare at 1pm where large numbers are expected to attend and pay their respects.