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Laura Brennan’s parents Larry and Bernie highlight their late daughter’s HPV Vaccine Campaign on the side of the new Club Clare kit van sponsored by Shiels Motor Group, Ennis. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty on 17/04/2021

Hurlers and Sheils help to drive home the late Laura’s message

AN Ennis car dealership and the Clare Senior Hurling Team are helping to drive the campaign by late Laura Brennan’s family to raise awareness of the HPV vaccine.
On Saturday the Sheils Motor Group presented Senior Hurling manager Brian Lohan alongside players Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald and David Reidy, and kitman Niall Romer, with their new kit van.
For the second year in a row the van has been emblazoned with the HPV vaccine logo, highlighting Laura’s message to get the vaccine and save lives.
Laura’s parents Bernie and Larry were at the presentation to see first-hand how much their daughter continues to be an inspiration two years after her tragic passing.
Larry told The Champion, “We are truly thankful to T Sheils, the management and staff, for continuing Laura’s legacy in this way by putting the HPV logo on the side of the van along with the hashtag ‘Thank You Laura’, and to Brian Lohan and the Clare senior hurling team and camogie team and the Clare County Board.
“It’s great to see them supporting us in this way, keeping the focus on Laura’s legacy and her message in the mind’s eye.”
He described a sharp decline in the numbers of students who got their first dose of the vaccine since the beginning of Covid-19 as “frightening”.
“The figures had gone up to 82%, but then it came down and last year it was just 53%. That is frightening to us.”
The Brennan family have been calling for the HPV vaccination programme to be reinstated, and for the introduction of a ‘catch-up’ programme for second level students so all teenage boys and girls can receive protection against HPV-related cancers.
“If we don’t catch up with this, there will be a massive impact in the future. Awareness of the vaccine is out there now among parents and young people, the issue now is getting the vaccine to roll out so people can get it and we are asking the HSE and the Department of Health to move this forward,” he said.
Eddie Rynne, general manager at Sheils said they are happy to help play their part in spreading Laura’s message.
“We are all well aware of the amazing work that the Brennan family have been doing to highlight the importance of the vaccine and we wanted to do something to help in this.
“This is the second year that we put the logo on the kit van, which we presented to the Clare team. Anything we can do to help them is very much appreciated and we are delighted to support this campaign.”
It has been two years since Laura passed away from cervical cancer, aged just 26. Following her diagnosis she had been a tireless campaigner for cervical cancer awareness and urging people to get the HPV vaccine.
Since her passing her family have continued on her legacy by spreading awareness.
Part of this included a hugely successful campaign which saw sports clubs throughout Ireland don a special HPV jersey in her memory.

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