Photo Credit: Twitter/@laura_jbrennan


25-year-old Laura Brennan led the launch of the Health Service Executive’s HPV Vaccine campaign alongside Minister for Health Simon Harris TD.


The catch-up programme aims to make the vaccine available for all girls in secondary school, even if they’ve passed it up on a previous opportunity.


In light up of the HPV awareness campaign, Laura, who was diagnosed with HPV-caused cervical cancer, penned a moving speech for young women everywhere.


“65% isn’t where I want the vaccine rates to be – as you all know, I won’t be happy until as many of our girls are protected as possible and until boys are included in the vaccination programme - but at least it’s going in the right direction,” she said.



Earlier this year, the Taoiseach announced that the much-needed vaccine will be available to boys in schools as early as next year as well.


“I have cancer as a result of a common virus and that brings with it no shame,” the inspiring woman continued.


“What interests me is letting the parents of Ireland know that their child doesn’t have to die of a HPV related cancer that the vaccine protects against like I will.


"What interests me is arming parents with the information they need to make the right decision for their daughters and soon sons hopefully."


“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, caused by a virus which the majority of people in this room have had or will have at some point in their life.



“I was just unlucky that I caught a cancer causing strain of the virus and my body couldn’t fight it off and that’s why I got cervical cancer,” Laura explained.


And it seems her efforts are already making a difference throughout the country.


The HSE has recently announced that uptake rates in the HPV vaccine have risen by 15% over the last year alone, protecting two out of every three girls from the potentially harmful virus.


90 women die from cervical cancer each year, but hopefully with Laura’s efforts and the vaccine’s availability to both boys and girls, we can cut down this tragic statistic.