Meet the staff of the Marie Keating Foundation. There are seven staff based in our head office in Lucan as well as a team of eight nurses who are based in communities all over Ireland. These nurses bring to life our mission of ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening’ and are available to visit schools, workplaces and community centres free of charge. Visit the mobile information unit page to learn about booking this service.
If you would like to learn more about our Board of Directors, click here.
Liz Yeates, Chief Executive Officer
As an international marketing professional and a graduate from DCU, Liz has worked in a variety of marketing, business development and relationship management roles in the financial services and charity sectors. She worked with ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands as International Marketing Manager for 7 years followed by 12 years at AIB as a Senior Bank Manager and Department Head in Dublin’s IFSC. In 2008, Liz moved to the not-for-profit sector and joined Concern Worldwide where she led the Corporate & Major Donor Fundraising team for a period of 6 years.
As a survivor of both malignant melanoma and bilateral breast cancer, Liz had had her own direct experience of cancer and joined the Marie Keating Foundation in March, 2014 as Director of Public Affairs. She was promoted to CEO in March 2015 “As a survivor of both breast cancer and skin cancer, it is a privilege to work with this hardworking and passionate team at the Marie Keating Foundation. It is amazing to see the difference that health promotion can make in people’s lives. I am proud to work for a Foundation that focuses on ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening.”
Linda Keating, Director of Fundraising
Linda started working with the Marie Keating Foundation from its inception. As Marie Keating’s only daughter, Linda was devastated by her mother’s death at just 51 years of age but decided just days after her passing, alongside her brothers and her father, that they would do something to ensure that other families would not have to go through the same pain.
As Director of Fundraising, Linda manages a busy schedule of extensive events and activities to raise critical funds for the Foundation.
Linda says, “Our mam died because she was too afraid to go to the doctor and get checked. The form of cancer she died from is one of the most curable forms which makes her death even more senseless. It continues to be an enormous comfort to me to work hard to ensure that other people, both men and women, are aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and the simple steps that they can take to help prevent it. The more we all know about cancer, the less frightened we have to be and the more lives we can save.”
Helen Forristal, MSc (ANP) BSc (Professional Nursing) ENB 237 (Oncology Nursing), Director of Nursing Services
Helen worked for 22 years in London focussing on the area of urology. She joined the Macmillan Cancer Support team, after seeing the need for a more holistic approach to the care of cancer patients. Helen set up two support groups for men with prostate cancer and their families, called Prospect and PHASE. Before returning to Ireland Helen ended her time at Macmillan as Cancer Nurse Director, a post which involved leadership and accountability at a strategic level.
After returning to Ireland, Helen worked as a Clinical Nurse Manager, where her role evolved to encompass a patient centred care approach based on the principles of empowerment, dignity, compassion, justice, privacy, confidentiality, choice, advocacy and quality.
Since joining the Foundation, initially in 2014, Helen took a year out to go back into clinical practice at the Beacon Hospital in Dublin where she managed a team of oncology nurses in acute oncology end of life care.
Helen says “It’s great to be back working with the Marie Keating Foundation, my recent experience working with patients and families with cancer in the acute setting has given me much to appreciate and I am even more determined to promote health awareness and well being. A key focus for me is to enhance survivorship through the supportive programmes we have to offer. Positive Living is very much on our agenda and it is a privilege to offer programmes to patients and families who find themselves with secondary cancer in need of hope, support and knowledge.”
Jennifer Cimerman, Director of Communications and Engagement
Jennifer has worked in communications for more than thirteen years, having originally trained and worked as a journalist before moving into the public relations and marketing sphere.
She worked for five years as a broadcast journalist, after qualifying with a degree in History and Politics from UCD and a post graduate qualification from Griffith College Dublin, in Journalism. Jennifer has spent seven years living and working in London, where she finished up as a Director at 4media Group, a full-service PR, market research and video agency, before moving home to Ireland with her husband and daughter to take up the role at the Marie Keating Foundation.
Jennifer says “It is such an honour to work at the Marie Keating Foundation and play my part in helping them achieve their mission of ‘making cancer less frightening by enlightening’. Cancer is, unfortunately, something that most people have been touched by in some way and it is a cause very close to my heart, having experienced it personally through close family members, including my Dad. I’m very excited to be able to come to work everyday and see the positive impact that the Foundation’s work is having on cancer patients and their families.”
Ava Hollingsworth, Communications Executive
Ava’s background is in the media sector, where she worked for a year before deciding that working in communications was for her. Having achieved a Bachelor of Honours in English and History, and recently graduating with a Masters in Journalism, Ava is excited to be working for a charity that does so much good.
Ava says “ I am absolutely thrilled to be working for an organisation that has such an impact on peoples lives. Cancer can be an incredibly frightening thing and to see the work the team at Marie Keating do with people who are struggling with the disease, I couldn’t more proud to be involved.”
Fiona Sullivan, Fundraising Executive
Fiona has been the Fundraising Executive at the Marie Keating Foundation almost since it started and has been an integral part of many of the Foundation’s events, appeals and donation drives. A trained chef, Fiona owned and ran two delicatessens in Dublin and also worked in the Fiat Head Office in Dublin before joining the Foundation on an initial six month contract, nearly a decade ago.
Fiona says, “Over the past ten years, there hasn’t been a day when I have not looked forward to coming to work. Seeing the changes that we can make to people’s lives whether it is through education, helping them out through their financial struggles or just putting that sparkle back in their eyes is amazing. It is a pleasure to work with so many generous people who are happy to give up their time to organise events or volunteer. I have met some amazing people that I can now call friends.”
Deirdre McDonnell, MAAT, CPA, Administration Officer
Deirdre has worked for the Foundation for over 12 years, coming from a background of over 10 years previous experience in various accountancy roles. Deirdre says, “I have worked with a small dedicated team at the Foundation over the years whose aim is to provide transparency and assurance to donors and contributors to the Foundation. Trust has never been more important in the charity sector and we work hard at the Foundation to ensure that every cent is accounted for and spent in a responsible and ethical manner. Working for the Foundation brings the realization home of how important it is to provide cancer information and awareness.”
Angela Egan, Community Information Service Co-ordinator
Angela joined the Marie Keating Foundation in 2004, having worked with Hibernian Life, Credit Finance Ltd, James Crean Mars and Sherling & Sons. At the Foundation, Angela’s role ensures the efficient operation of the Community Information service countrywide and looks after the bookings for the three Mobile Information Units which visit schools, community centres, workplaces and shopping centres around Ireland throughout the year.
Angela says, “Working with the Foundation is so inspiring as it is providing a service that is really needed. We are always looking for new communities to reach, new groups to speak to and new ways to connect with people about the importance of cancer awareness and prevention. We have established close lines with PLC schools, colleges, hospitals, pharmacies and lots of community groups and, hopefully, working together, we can reduce the number of diagnoses of cancer in Ireland each year.”
Bernie Carter, Senior Oncology Nurse
Bernie is an oncology nurse specialist with over 20 years’ experience working in oncology and haematology in tertiary care teaching hospitals in Ireland, UK, Australia and Canada. Bernie took her oncology training in the Royal Marsden in the UK and the Peter MacCallum hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Bernie also has a post graduate diploma and MSc from Trinity College Dublin and her Master thesis was titled – ‘An Assessment of Patient Information in the Field of Breast Cancer in Ireland’. Her thesis culminated with the design of a website for patients with breast cancer. Most recently in her previous role she coordinated a national support programme for patients with advanced Melanoma receiving treatment with immunotherapy.
Bernie says, ‘I just recently joined the Marie Keating Foundation and I am delighted to be a part of this wonderful meaningful organisation which helps create awareness of the different types of cancer with a view of prevention and early detection and hence better outcomes over all. I really feel that education is the key to a decrease in the incidences of all types of cancer and I am looking forward to helping the foundation spread the word in the various different settings that I will be working in. I feel that it is important to demystify cancer, to inform the community that treatments are now very advanced and new treatments are coming on the market all the time and thus outcomes are much more positive especially if detected early’.
Maeve Fitzgerald, Community Information Nurse
Maeve is a registered general nurse and midwife. Her experience includes general nursing, parent-craft education, health screening, respite care, research and oral health promotion. She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Protection from University College Cork and a Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Maeve has been a Community Information Nurse with the Marie Keating Foundation for a number of years. She says, “My role with the Foundation is varied, interesting and enjoyable. It is so pleasing and fulfilling to work in creating awareness of the different types of cancers, promoting lifestyle changes and the importance of early detection. I find that working from the mobile units makes us much more accessible and people are more likely to feel comfortable approaching us for health information whether we are in a school, workplace or community setting and makes it easier to reach out to hard-to-reach segments of the population.”
Phil Keating, Community Information Nurse
Phil trained as General Nurse and Midwife, had has worked in the UK and Ireland in a broad range of areas, including Clinical Tutor, Midwifery, Medical/Surgical/A&E and Geriatric nursing. She has a keen interest in the communality and is a Volunteer Leader with Foróige National Youth Organisation for over ten years and has also served on the National Executive of this organisation for four years, acting as both Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasure.
Phil says, “I have been working for the Marie Keating Foundation for 12 years, just a year after the Mobile Information Units were put on the road. I have seen the service grow from the beginning, from where we just offered advice on breast cancer to where we are at now, focusing on ten of the most prevalent cancers in Ireland. I enjoy meeting new people each day we are out, and get great satisfaction out of delivering our message of awareness to the general public. The Marie Keating Foundation brings easily understood information to people in a way that suits their individual needs and so helps to make the whole topic of cancer less intimidating and frightening. That is what makes the job so interesting. No two groups are the same and it is always a rewarding day when someone approaches me for a consultation and I am able to reassure them or give them the courage to follow up on a concern and I can see them relax a little as they walk off our Mobile Unit.”
Ursula Clancy, Community Information Nurse
Ursula is a Registered General and Children’s Nurse who also has a Certificate in Counseling Skills from NUI Maynooth. As part of the Marie Keating Foundation’s Nursing Team, she has completed many courses and updates in cancer and health promotion. She has worked in hospitals and the community in a variety of nursing roles including Clinical Nurse Specialist and is a member of the Irish Breast Care Nurses Group.
Ursula says, “I have enjoyed working as part of the Foundation’s nursing team since June 2007. I am extremely committed to providing cancer information and healthy choices relating to it, in a way that makes it accessible and relevant to everyone. A key part of what makes it accessible is that we bring the information service to where the individual is, be that a shopping centre, a workplace, or community group, to name but a few. I love that every day I work is different, the people that I meet and the venues. I never know who I’ll meet and what information or support that person will need. I consider it a privilege to be in a position, as part of the Marie Keating Foundation, to help them in some way.”
Marie Dempsey, Community Information Nurse
Marie is a registered nurse with a diploma in Oncology Nursing. She has many years experience in oncology nursing both in Ireland and the UK and has worked extensively in acute hospitals in Clinical and Managerial roles. She joined the Marie Keating Foundation in 2016 as a Community Information Nurse, working in the Western Region/Unit and has a keen interest in health awareness and promotion.
She said, “More and more people are being affected by cancer every day in Ireland so it’s very empowering to be going in to new communities every day to talk to people about practical changes that they can make to reduce their risk. A lot of people think that that Marie Keating Foundation is only about breast cancer so I always enjoy giving presentations to men and mixed groups and telling them about all the different services we provide.”
Eileen O’ Riordan, Community Information Nurse
Eileen is a Registered General Nurse and Children’s Nurse with many years’ experience working in the Acute Hospital setting. She has a Diploma in Health Services Management from Cork’s College of Commerce and has completed two Train the Trainer course for different programmes. She has delivered many educational programmes to people from a variety of socio economic backgrounds. Eileen joined the Marie Keating Foundation Community Information Nursing Team in the Southern Region in January 2018.
She says “As part of this role I enjoy meeting new people, from all walks of life and giving information in a simple, easy to understand manner as I deliver the Marie Keating Foundation message about cancer awareness and early detection during our trips to a variety of venues e.g. schools, community groups or workplaces.”
Our part-time drivers also play an important role in the delivery of our community outreach, helping to bring our mobile information units around the country.
The Foundation is lucky enough to have a team of medical professionals and cancer survivors who make up our Medical Advisory Committee. You can find our more here.