Making Moments Matter: Irish lung cancer patients and families affected by this cancer share the moments that matter most to them
The Marie Keating Foundation campaign was launched in Dublin to coincide with Lung Cancer Awareness Month, November 2019
Hope exists for patients despite poor survival rates and increasing prevalence rate
12 Nov 2019 – Today, seven Irish lung cancer patients and families who have lost a loved one to the disease unveiled ‘memento jars’ at the Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin. The memento jars illustrate significant moments in their lives that they were able to enjoy since their lung cancer diagnosis and as a result of early intervention and treatment. Some of these stories from family give insight into a time or moment something they have missed since losing a loved one.
The event was hosted by the Marie Keating Foundation as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2019. The exhibition was curated by artist and speaker Steven Farrell and formally opened by Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD.
Making Moments Matter is an important campaign, which hopes to highlight just how significant ‘extra time’ is in the lives of patients and survivors of lung cancer when combating the odds and the poor survival rates associated with this disease. Only 20% of people will be alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis[i].
Last year alone, 2,749 people were diagnosed with Lung Cancer, a disease which kills more people than colorectal cancer and breast cancer combined[ii].
Lung cancer is currently the biggest cancer killer in Ireland, with rates of lung cancer set to more than double in the next 20 years. The National Cancer Registry in Ireland has predicted that lung cancer rates among women will increase by as much as 136% by 2040[iii].
However, there is hope for Irish lung cancer patients. This is highlighted within the stories on display at the Temple Bar Gallery as part of the Making Moments Matter campaign. When patients are given extra time as a direct result of early intervention, diagnosis and treatment, they can collect and enjoy more moments and memories with their families and loved ones. Equally, sharing memories of loved ones lost to lung cancer helps raise awareness of the impact lung cancer can have when only caught at late stage, focussing on the importance of early detection and increasing symptom awareness.
‘Making Moments Matter’ sees patients and families from all over the country tell the stories of significant moments in their lives since being diagnosed with lung cancer or losing a loved one. Working closely together with artist Steven Farrell, each patient crafted their own ‘memento jar’ to help tell their personal story, contributing tokens that illustrate the preciousness of these extra moments, and how much they mattered to them and their loved ones. Participants who created jars for the campaign include:
- Sasha Hamrogue
- Venetia Quick
- Tom Doyle
- Miriam Payne
- Lisa Cannon
- Mallory Adams
- Karen McDonnell
Speaking at the campaign launch, Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation, said: “Lung cancer urgently needs more attention and public discussion to ensure people present earlier with symptoms, and better and improved treatment options continue to become available publicly.”
“It is very important to highlight how treatment, intervention and early diagnosis can all play a part in allowing patients more time, which in turn translates into more meaningful moments they get to enjoy with their families, their loved ones, or for themselves. The birth of a grandchild, a Christmas with the family, a trip to a new destination – it’s impossible to put a figure on how much these moments are worth.”
Miriam Payne, lung cancer survivor and Making Moments Matter ambassador said: “Although my lung cancer was diagnosed almost by accident, I am one of the lucky ones. I really do count my blessings that my cancer was caught early and after surgery, I haven’t required any further treatment and have been well since. I think for a great many lung cancer survivors there is a stigma attached to lung cancer and I certainly have felt embarrassed to tell people in the past. I wanted to get involved with the Marie Keating Foundation and this campaign to help tackle that stigma and increase awareness of lung cancer in Ireland. Because mine was caught early, I have got to experience such wonderful moments with my family and friends, including my time in the Sea of Change choir. Time is just so precious that it’s crucial we give ourselves the best chance of having as much time here as possible.”
Dr Dearbhaile Collins Consultant Medical Oncologist at Cork University Hospital said: “Equal access to healthcare is a vital component of healthcare systems, however not all conditions are treated equally when it comes to awareness, early diagnosis, innovation or investment. Unfortunately, lung cancer is an example of this, which despite being the biggest cancer killer in Ireland is still rarely spoken about. Campaigns such as this one are essential to raise awareness amongst the public and encourage earlier attendance to medical practitioners for earlier diagnosis. Above all, initiatives such as Making Moments Matter emphasize that lung cancer patients deserve equality when it comes to treatment and care.”
The campaign will be kick-started at a launch event in the Temple Bar Art Gallery in Dublin, on Wednesday 13th November and additional information about the campaign, including where you can see the jars, can be found online at – www.mariekeating.ie/makingmomentsmatter
The Making Moments Matter is a Marie Keating Foundation campaign supported by MSD Ireland and Bristol Myers Squibb.
You can find out more about lung cancer by visiting www.mariekeating.ie/cancer-information/lung-cancer/. If you have a concern in relation to your health, speak with your local healthcare professional.