Today, as part of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland’s (RCPI) annual flagship event St Luke’s Symposium, a portrait of the late Laura Brennan, who advocated for the HPV vaccine, was unveiled. The portrait was unveiled at No 6 Kildare street, the beautiful home of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland since 1864, where it will reside.
Laura’s family, who were at RCPI for the unveiling of the portrait, said: ‘’This beautiful portrait is a most fitting tribute to Laura who was a truly wonderful person and is testament to her outstanding contribution to boosting the take up of the HPV vaccine in Ireland. Her legacy will continue into the future and we are delighted to be here today in this historic building for this very special occasion.’’
Laura’s positivity throughout her own illness and her willingness to share her own personal story for the good of others resulted in an uptake rate of 70%. Her contribution is immeasurable and her legacy will continue way into the future. This important work has also helped to shape the COVID-19 vaccine campaign in Ireland where almost 90% of those eligible to receive the vaccine are vaccinated.
Professor Mary Horgan, RCPI President, added: “Laura’s beautiful portrait will be a constant reminder to doctors and so many people for generations to come of the power of advocacy to improve the health of the nation. Despite her being so unwell from her disease and its treatment, Laura’s voice was always strong as she continued to advocate for HPV vaccine for as long as she could. Laura’s tireless work was a great example of doctors and advocates working together in a powerful way. We are very honoured that she will be joining us at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. She will be a constant inspiration and source of admiration and a reminder to all of us of the power of advocacy and the health of the nation.’’
RCPI commissioned the portrait to add the first health advocate, who is not a doctor, to its collection in acknowledgement of Laura’s outstanding contribution to boosting the take up of the HPV vaccine. The portrait is by Catherine Creaney, a renowned artist who has exhibited throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe and has won multiple awards for her work including: The ESB Keating Award and Silver Medal for an outstanding artwork at the 185th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition and First Place in the Artist’s Magazine All-Media Online Competition (2014).