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Terminally ill Wicklow man joins HSE ad campaign

gerry-collins

A terminally ill Wicklow man will feature on a series of TV, radio and online advertisements for a national campaign urging people to quit smoking.

The HSE’s QUIT campaign launched a new TV advert today (30th December, 2013), featuring an emotive message from Gerry Collins from Greystones, who has terminal lung cancer caused by smoking.

Gerry and his family have generously volunteered to be part of this new phase of the QUIT campaign in the hope that their story will inspire and encourage smokers to quit.

In 2011, Mr Collins featured in the QUIT campaign’s film and TV adverts, telling his story of recovery from tobacco-related throat cancer.

In summer 2013, Gerry contacted the HSE to say that he had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and asked if this new chapter in his story could form a new phase of the QUIT campaign, which is a partnership between the HSE and the Irish Cancer Society.

If even one person stops smoking because of what we’ve done, then it will all be worth it for me.

Gerry Collins, attending the preview event with his family and friends, said: “There were three reasons I decided I wanted to do this – firstly it was for myself, a positive thing for me to invest my energy in while dealing with my cancer. Secondly, I thought it would be good for my family, creating something powerful and meaningful for my kids to look back on. And finally, if even one person stops smoking because of what we’ve done, then it will all be worth it for me.”

Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, HSE National Director of Health and Wellbeing, said today at a preview of the adverts: “Gerry and his family, having reflected on their previous experience with QUIT and the HSE, have allowed us a window into their family life, and into how they are coping with and reacting to Gerry’s diagnosis. By working with us to create new, hard-hitting TV commercials; discussing his smoking, his illness, his expected death and the anticipated loss to his family; Gerry hopes to inspire other people to quit smoking and help them to avoid the pain of illness and premature separation from their loved ones.”

John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society said: “We are very grateful to Gerry Collins who has shown extreme bravery and generosity in allowing us the privilege of sharing this precious time in his life. I am certain that as a result of Gerry sharing his honest account of being a smoker and the impact smoking has had on his health, other smokers will be moved to take action and finally quit smoking for good and non-smokers will resist the temptation to start.”

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