“Laura was a selfless giver who spent her energy to the last so that others may be spared the ill health that she experienced.”
Chief celebrant Fr Pat Malone told her funeral Mass at St Peter and Paul Cathedral in Ennis the 26-year-old cervical cancer campaigner had a great desire “to help prevent what is preventable”.
“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 is testimony to a great truth that one person can make a difference.”
He told mourners:
So today, as we celebrate the life of Laura, we are thankful for having known her, for the person she was, the work she did, the challenges she offers us and the courage and bravery she displayed in adversity.
Fr Malone said Laura “with great courage and with passion threw herself into promoting the HPV vaccine”.
He said: “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.”
Fr Malone quoted Laura as saying on her promoting the HPV vaccine “my only reason for getting involved is my desire to save other families from going through this, to save other parents from watching their child suffer from a preventable illness.
“Once I am gone there is nothing more I can do about it so I hope you all listen to me while you have a chance, this vaccine saves lives. It could have saved mine, but it can save yours.’
Fr Malone remarked: “Laura had a gold card to Coppers in Dublin — one of her prized possessions — her good works go before her to ensure that she has a gold card to the Father’s heavenly kingdom.”
At the start of the Mass, gifts symbolising Laura’s life were brought forward. They included her brother, Colin and a friend, Ali, bringing forward pictures of Laura’s family and her friends.
Her brother, Fergal made an emotional tribute to his “powerful, strong, gentle, courageous, kind and beautiful sister — inside and out”.
He said in Laura’s final days it would have been easy for her to be angry with the hand she was dealt but she faced them with grace, generosity and calmness.
Laura was a strong, independent lady who always held her head high.
Fergal said that Laura walked into hospital on March 19 for what the family and Laura thought would be a short stay.
After staying overnight, Laura took a bad turn at 9am the following morning and passed away at 11.48am “surrounded by her adoring family”.
Fergal reminded the congregation that Laura’s parting comment in her final public speech at the Clare Person of the Year award earlier this month was “live the best life you possibly can”. To huge applause,
Fergal commented: “Laura you certainly did that”.
Laura’s remains were buried at a private family service at Drumcliffe Cemetery outside Ennis before the Mass — the remembrance Mass did not take place until yesterday as Laura’s brother, Colin works for Concern in Syria and faced delays returning to Ennis.
Fergal said Laura’s terminal diagnosis from cervical cancer in September 2017 “was a hammer blow, but Laura just dusted herself down and persevered when facing the inevitable”.
He said her attitude was “this is me. I have a life to live. There is craic to be had”.
He said Laura “campaigned vigorously and graciously for an increased uptake in the vaccine of the HPV vaccine to prevent women suffering a similar fate to her”.
Fergal said when Laura first received her cervical cancer diagnosis in December 2016 “life remained great and she told me ‘Ferg, it is curable, I got this’”.
In a lighter moment at the Mass, Cein brought forward a detention slip from Laura’s secondary school, St Flannan’s College as the congregation was reminded that Laura’s enthusiasm often did not transfer into academics during her teenage years, occasionally causing her parents, Bernie and Larry to receive unwanted post.
Laura’s Clare ladies football jersey was also presented as Laura won an All-Ireland Division 1 Féile Medal in 2006 with The Banner club.
A friend and work colleague, Marina brought forward Laura’s makeup bag.
Her father, Larry also thanked the people of Ennis who he said have “wrapped their arms” around the family since her diagnosis.
Laura is survived by parents, Larry and Bernie and brothers, Colin, Fergal and Kevin.