Laura was diagnosed with Stage 2B cervical cancer in December 2016. After treatment with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, her prognosis was looking good. By June 2017, she was declared cancer-free and got back to planning her future.
She bought a house and got a dog, named Bailey, and got back to her busy job. However, just a few months later, Laura received devastating news. Her cancer was back and this time is was considered to be incurable.
At that time, HPV vaccine uptake had fallen in Ireland – where Laura lived. She was determined that parents making decisions about whether their daughter was to be vaccinated against HPV, would hear her story.
It was never easy. She was subjected to abuse and criticism online – but Laura refused to stop her advocacy work, helping to reverse a decline in HPV vaccination rates by appearing on television at every opportunity. She also made videos with Ireland’s Health Services Executive and the WHO Regional Officer for Europe.
The new film, This Is Me, aims to ensure her story is not forgotten and helps the public to put a face to the statistics they about cervical cancer deaths. It also depicts the devasting impact the disease had on her family and friends during her illness.
After her death in March 2019, members of the public, health professionals, Ireland’s Minister for Health, and many more paid tribute to her decision to devote her time to health advocacy. For several days, the hashtag #ThankYouLaura was trending on Twitter.
Thank you, Laura.