For many people this Christmas, they will be faced with saying a final goodbye to a loved one

Christy Dignam's daughter Kiera remembers her dad and over 9,000 others who passed from cancer in 2023

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Kiera Dignam launches Irish cancer society Christmas campaign

Singer, Kiera Dignam, joined Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society and Olga Price, Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse, to light the Irish Cancer Society’s Christmas tree and remember the 9,000 lives lost to cancer each year in Ireland.

After losing her much-beloved dad, Aslan frontman Christy Dignam, in June of this year, this will be Kiera and her family’s first Christmas following his passing. This Christmas, she is calling on the public to show their support for the Irish Cancer Society’s range of services, including their Night Nursing service.

Kiera said “It is an incredibly difficult time of the year for anybody to be thinking about loved ones you have lost and for us it will be no different. Families all over the country have lost people this year to cancer and this Christmas we remember the more than 9,000 lives lost each year to this disease.

For us, as a family, we think of the IrishCancer Society’s Night Nursing service who were with us in dad’s final days which meant that we could bring him home and be with him before we said goodbye. The work they do is just amazing, and they will be doing it every night over the Christmas period offering incredible support to families going through the toughest time.”

Kiera Dignam launches Irish cancer society Christmas campaign
Kiera Dignam, singer and daughter of Aslan’s Christy Dignam. Picture Andres Poveda

Kiera is calling on the generous Irish public to support the Irish CancerSociety’s Christmas campaign: “Christmas is a great time of year for having your family and friends around and coming together, but for many people this Christmas, they will be dealing with a sick loved one who they will be saying their last goodbye to.

The Irish CancerSociety’s Night Nursing Service is there all year round, including Christmas time, so that cancer patients coming towards the end can spend their final days at home and I encourage anybody who is thinking of giving this Christmas to give to this amazing charity. I know firsthand the work they do, the support they give, and the positive impact this can have for families.”

She added, “Our Night Nurse, Olga, was so supportive to my dad and us as a family. We can’t thank her enough for her amazing support. She actually wasn’t familiar with dad’s music, and I remember her telling me that just days before he passed, he sang some Aslan songs for her to give her a taste of what she was missing out on. Right until the very end he was still so passionate about his music and sharing his songs to the nurse who was caring for him.”

Averil Power, Irish Cancer Society CEO said “Last year, our Night Nurses delivered over 6,600 nights of care to cancer patients at home in their final days, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, and all over the Christmas period. This simply would not be possible without the incredible generosity of people all over the country who give their support and make donations to the Irish Cancer Society. We receive only 5% of our funding for Government, meaning the rest comes from individuals and organisations who generously support our work. You have heard firsthand from Kiera how we were there in Christy’s final days. We want to be there for as many people as possible who need us and to do that, we need your support.”

Olga Price, Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse, who cared for Christy Dignam in his final days, said “As an Irish Cancer Society Night Nurse, it is an incredible privilege to go into people’s homes and provide that support and comfort for cancer patients and their families as they prepare to say their final goodbye.

The Dignam family was no different. To be able to be there for them, offering that practical and nursing support, as well as that emotional support was so meaningful. Being there for families all over the country, and throughout the Christmas period, wouldn’t be possible without the donations of the Irish public who support our Night Nursing service and we are so grateful to everybody is able to support our work.” 

The public can support vital services for cancer patients this Christmas, including the Irish Cancer Society Night Nursing service, at cancer.ie/christmas.

There’s also still time to buy the Irish Cancer Society’s limited edition Christmas tree decoration which is available in select Kilkenny Design stores across the country, including: Nassau St, Dublin; Swords, Dublin; Ennis, Clare; Killarney, Kerry; Douglas, Cork; Galway City, Galway; and Newbridge, Kildare, and you can also purchase online at cancer.ie/christmas while stocks last. 

Visit cancer.ie/christmas to show your support.

Photos Andres Poveda Photography

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