Campaigning and Awareness Raising 

Laura Brennan, HSE – HPV Vaccine Campaign, Clare

Laura has terminal cervical cancer and advocates in favour of the HPV vaccine, encouraging parents through various media engagements, public speaking opportunities and social media, to protect their daughters from HPV and cervical cancer.

Laura took the initiative and contacted the HSE in September 2017. At the age of just 25, she was determined that every parent in Ireland who was about to make the decision whether their daughter was to be vaccinated against HPV, would hear her story first. Laura has been a tireless advocate – shooting a campaign video, doing interviews and even travelling to Boston to speak at the Cervivor conference.

According to Aghna, who nominated her, “Laura’s positivity, dignity, and energy for raising awareness of this vaccine in spite of what she is going through is nothing short of inspirational.”

Marian Carroll, The Ronald McDonald House, Dublin

Marian has volunteered with RMHC Ireland since 1998 and has been Volunteer CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charity since 2002. Over that time Marian has successfully steered the charity and the Ronald McDonald House which to date has looked after the families of over 3,600 children on the island of Ireland. Marian oversaw the building of the first Ronald McDonald House in Ireland which opened in 2004. The House provides accommodation, care and support for 20 families every night while their children are inpatient at Crumlin Hospital. Marian is now currently spearheading the capital campaign to build a New 53 bedroom Ronald McDonald House at the New Children’s Hospital site in St James’ which is due to open in 2022.

Marians fundraising to date has been extraordinary. She now also has a reputation for being a fantastic event manager. Marian brings a sense of fun to the main fundraising projects which contribute over 80% of the total running cost of The House annually. The annual Golf Classic and Gala Ball sees friends of the House travel from all parts of the island and beyond to raise funds in order to look after families whose children are long term sick in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital.

Marian has trained herself in all legal aspects of managing a board from expectations and responsibilities to reporting and meeting dates. She is fully aware of the legal complexities that are required to steward the charity. Marian is fully competent in all financial aspects of the running of the House and assists and signs off on the annual financial budgets. Marian has also demonstrated that she has the capabilities to put a strategy into place that helps deliver family centred care and has helped the charity develop over the past two decades.

Nadya Doyle, An Taisce Climate Ambassador Programme, Wexford

At just 16 years old, Nadya was the first person in her community to become part of an Taisce’s Climate Ambassador Programme. Having always had a keen interest in the environment, she has been encouraging he parents to recycle from a young age. Nadya – who is also the chair of the Green Schools Committee in her secondary school – chose to become a climate ambassador to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and to highlight things that people can do every day to help the environment such as correct recycling practices, reducing plastic usage and supports the conscious cup campaign encouraging cafes to give discounts to people who bring in their own reusable coffee cups.

Nadya has organised a many initiatives as part of her role such as a beach clean up in at Bannow strand as part of Clean Coasts Week  She was asked by the OPW to give a talk on the cause and effect of climate change in Ireland at Tintern abbey during Heritage week.

Nadya organised a competition among the staff of Carlow County Council on the amount of batteries that could be collected for recycling to raise funds for Laura Lynn children’s hospice (Weeepledge).  In order to promote the Climate Ambassador Programme among other students she wrote to 166 schools in Wexford and Carlow. Nadya has volunteered with New Ross Tidy towns on a clean up and is the process of helping them making a mural out of bottle tops for the town. The majority of her work has been completed outside of school in her own time.