FACE UP TO CANCER is a fundraising campaign supporting the work of Irish cancer charities by raising money for vital cancer research and cancer support services. Reaching into every town and village in Ireland, helping people facing cancer and their families.
It’s about bringing people together by sharing selfies.
Each selfie will become part of our 9 ‘Face Up to Cancer Portraits’. Telling the stories of people who represent us all. Some are living with cancer, some who have lost their lives to cancer and others who have always been there, providing support, love, care and research. When you take part, you become a part of their story, adding your face and your donation to the fight for better outcomes for all of us.
Meet the faces
behind our portraits
"I feel you live on"
Keelin Shanley was a journalist, newsreader and presenter with RTÉ, Ireland’s national radio and television station until her death in February 2020. Keelin’s husband, Conor, talks about her life and her worldview of dealing with cancer.
Ciara Jones was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma when she was just 4 weeks pregnant. When getting the diagnosis, the hardest part for her was finding out both sets of news at the same time – on the same day in fact!
"I didn't want to be the pregnant girl with cancer"
"We all have to face up to cancer"
Stephen Teap was only 36 when he lost his wife Irene to Cervical Cancer aged just 35. Stephen and Irene’s two boys were just four and two when they lost their mother. Stephen was left to cope with his own grief while being a parent to his two young boys.
Patricia Flynn is a Neuroscience PhD student whose research focuses on finding a personalised treatment for Glioblastoma, the most frequently diagnosed brain tumour, which only has a 5% survival rate after 5 years.
"Cancer has it's own set of rules"
"You're never alone with a cancer diagnosis"
At 53, Clare father of 3 John Wall has overcome many challenges to get to a point in life where he can now say he’s successfully living with a Stage 4 Prostate Cancer diagnosis.
"Life is never going to be the same as it was before cancer came into the family"
Avril Deegan, 25, Co. Laois, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2004, at the age of 5. As a childhood leukaemia survivor Avril is now using that personal experience and her academic knowledge to make a contribution to research in the field and help inform future research, policy and care plans on how best to support families on their journey of survivorship. She is a PhD researcher in the School of Psychology in Dublin City University and is a Breakthrough Cancer Research funded researcher.
"What motivates me in our work is definitely the patients"
Professor Leonie Young
Professor Leonie Young leads the Endocrine Oncology Research Group, based at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is also Scientific Director of the recently accredited Beaumont RCSI Comprehensive Cancer Centre, bringing together the elements of clinical care, research and education at the highest level. With a strong research team, in the BCI funded laboratories, one of their main focuses is in the area of breast cancer metastasis, with particular concentration on the brain. Professor Young and her team are extensively published and collaborate internationally with world renowned Centres of Excellence eg Ludwig Breast Research Centre in Chicago; University of Pittsburgh; Mayo Clinic and more, all in the knowledge that their combined expertise will help to speed up research discovery and effect newer and more efficient drug therapies into the future.
"The power of staying present is massive"
Avril is a mum, daughter, friend and sister, living (and living well) with metastatic breast cancer since 2020. First diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2019, Avril soon realized that she could control only her own reaction to her situation, and decided to re-focus, stay present and face up to whatever came her way with positivity and hope. She says “I’ve made a conscious decision to live my life as normally as possible, to adjust to the new change but with forward motion. A metastatic diagnosis doesn’t mean life stops, yes it’s devastating at first but you can move forward and live a fulfilled life with hope for the future especially with the advances of research into medications and targeted therapies.”
"I'm proud to be the third generation of my family to help research a cure for cancer, following in my father and grandfather's footsteps!"
Louise is an RCSI student and deserving recipient of the Breast Cancer Ireland funded Orla Byrne PHD Scholarship. Louise is the third generation of her family to be involved in the fight against this disease and her work focuses specifically on research into metastatic breast cancer – the most challenging area from a research perspective.