We lost our dear friend, Breast Cancer Ireland Ambassador and renowned author/novelist, Emma Hannigan, in March 2018 (R.I.P). Emma fought a courageous fight and worked tirelessly to highlight the need for continuous investment in research.
Emma was an author from Bray, Co Wicklow. Her life changed dramatically in 2005 when she discovered she carried the BRCA 1 gene. At the time, this meant she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Following a bi-lateral mastectomy (the removal of both breasts) with reconstruction and a bi-lateral oophorectomy (removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes), she firmly believed she would leave cancer behind.
In 2006, cancer struck for the first time. She had chemotherapy and presumed this was her final battle with cancer. Sadly, this wasn’t the case, and over the course of five years, Emma was diagnosed with – and beat – breast cancer, eight times.
Emma was a glass half full type of person and having cancer hadn’t changed this. “I am still me,” she made it widely known. “I have never allowed breast cancer to silence me. The disease can invade my body, but not my mind.”
Emma was always keen to give back. She was aware of how lucky she was to survive so many times, and she longed to see a day when breast cancer became a treatable illness for everyone. She was honoured to become an Ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland and we were, in turn, humbled to have known and loved her for so long. Rest in Peace, Emma. We will always keep your spark alive.