Emma Hannigan


We lost our dear friend, Breast Cancer Ireland Ambassador and well renowned Author and Novelist, Emma Hannigan, earlier this year (R.I.P)….Emma fought a courageous fight and worked tirelessly to highlight the need for continuous investment in research.

Emma Hannigan was an author from Bray, Co Wicklow. Her life’s path changed dramatically in 2005 when she discovered she carried the BRCA 1 gene. At the time this meant she had an 85% of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Following a bi-lateral mastectomy (removing both breasts) with reconstruction and a bi-lateral oophorectomy (removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes) she honestly thought she could sail off into the sunset, leaving cancer behind.

In 2006, the big bad wolf that Emma had been attempting to avoid knocked on her door. Cancer struck for the first time. She had chemotherapy and honestly thought that was the final hurdle with cancer. Sadly breast cancer has no social conscience and doesn’t believe in fair play, so over the course of the next five years, Emma was diagnosed with and beat breast cancer, eight times.

Emma was a glass half full type of person and having cancer hadnt changed this. ‘I am still me. I have never allowed breast cancer to silence me. The disease can invade my body, but not my mind.’ As a sort of spleen venting exercise, Emma began to write about her experience. Those musings turned into her first novel, ‘Designer Genes,’ which was published in 2009.

Since then Emma had written numerous novels and two memoirs, the first of which was, ‘Talk to the Headscarf.’ She wrote ‘Talk to the Headscarf,’ after many years of battling breast cancer. She wanted people to see that cancer doesn’t always win. But more than that she wanted others to read a story of hope and positivity, written in easy-to-understand language.’

Emma was always keen to give back. She was aware of how lucky she was to survive so many times and longed to see a day when breast cancer becomes a treatable illness for everyone. She was honoured to become an Ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland and we were humbled to have known her for so long. Rest in Peace. We will keep your sparke alive xx