East Galway Midlands Cancer Support Centre’s Director of Services, Jacqueline Daly, became the third recipient of the Laura Brennan Award for her Advocacy work for cancer patients.
She becomes the first person in the West to have received this award with only Laura Brennan who this award is in remembrance of and Joan Moore being the second recipient. The Ballinasloe native was awarded the accolade by The Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology after the incredible work that she has provided to cancer patients over the years, just before Christmas.
The Brackernagh based Cancer Support Centre has its roots back in 2009 when Jacqueline and Michael Daly noticed a gap in their first-hand experiences with cancer. Following Jacqueline's battle with malignant melanoma and Michael’s battle with prostate cancer, the couple experienced the loneliness and isolation that had come with such diagnosis. From this, the family opened telling their experiences and they established a support group to aid and care for cancer patients and their families. Today, they have over 200 patients attending weekly with an army of volunteers all doing their part to support them. Their services are offered free of charge.
Jacqueline stated that she is: “absolutely chuffed” that she is the third recipient of the award after the incredible work that she provided to cancer patients. The award was named in remembrance of prominent HPV vaccine campaigner who unfortunately passed away in 2019 from cervical cancer at the age of 26. It recognises outstanding contribution or achievement in areas of patient advocacy and research.
Jacqueline spoke of the accolade and dedicated it to Laura’s work saying “It is an incredible honour to accept this award and to continue Laura Brennan’s legacy of advocacy. Laura is a huge inspiration to me, and she will always be my hero. She was and still is a huge champion for women everywhere.”
Speaking how they are operating during Covid-19 Jacqueline states “We've found a way to make it work. You can't start to support people and then pull the rug from under them. Mental health is going to be the big casualty of this. At the end of the day, people need people.”
Jacqueline has been pivotal to ensuring that the support centre remains active during Covid-19 Their group provides counselling over the phone or over zoom with the group expanding from one counsellor last year to now having five.
The group have moved all their support systems online and hold a one-way system in their building complete with a sanitation set for their therapy rooms. With fewer people coming into the centre. Jacqueline’s work has been pivotal in keeping their clients informed and supported throughout the pandemic. They provided services such as bringing patients to their radiotherapy appointments however due to COVID-19 they have been restricted in what they can do.
Jacqueline always acknowledges the role of the wider community : “Amazingly, people have continued to fundraise for us, they have been very creative during these times ”, states Jacky.
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