- The HSE pays tribute to the late Gerry Collins and his family as part of World No Tobacco Day 2016 -
Over 125,000 fewer smokers in Ireland since QUIT campaign launched
Today, May 31, is World No Tobacco Day, and to mark the day, the HSE is paying tribute to the late Gerry Collins and his family. Gerry and his family have been at the forefront of the HSE’s QUIT campaign since 2011, and his hard-hitting adverts, filmed before he died from tobacco-related lung cancer in 2014, have had an unprecedented impact on smokers in Ireland. According to monthly prevalence data, there are more than 125,000 fewer smokers in Ireland today, compared to when the QUIT campaign commenced in 2011. A special tribute was paid to Gerry’s family at the HSE’s Healthcare Leaders Masterclass in the Convention Centre, Dublin earlier this month ahead of World No Tobacco Day 2016. Led by Tony O’Brien, HSE Director General, the tribute acknowledged the unique contribution made by Gerry and his family to the health and wellbeing of our society through his work with the HSE’s QUIT campaign. During the moving tribute, a special short film, with previously unseen footage, about Gerry’s life, his illness and what he was going to miss as a result of it, was played on screens in the Convention Centre. Gerry’s wife Delly, daughter Lisa, mother Phyllis, brothers Paddy and Declan were present and were given a standing ovation by senior healthcare managers at the event. In his address Mr O’Brien explained that: “When Gerry’s ad was launched in January 2014, he said that he wanted to do this firstly as a positive thing to invest his energy in while dealing with his illness, secondly, he wanted to create a something powerful and meaningful for his kids to look back on – and finally Gerry said that if even one person stopped smoking because of what he had done, then it would be worth it. We know that Gerry has saved lives and helped many people avoid the pain, illness and loss that are caused by smoking. We also know that there are more than 100,000 fewer smokers in Ireland since Gerry’s adverts began to air.”
Mr. O’Brien also noted the courage of the Collins family and their unique generosity in allowing the HSE to use these adverts to lead the QUIT Campaign since Gerry passed away in March 2014. “We can only imagine the challenge for them - experiencing this great loss, while at the same time taking part in interviews to continue Gerry’s story and further spread his message.” Mr. O’Brien acknowledged that the time had come, after two and half years, to move on from Gerry’s adverts. He explained that Gerry and his family had “made a unique contribution to the health and wellbeing of our society. You have helped save lives, to avoid illness and you have inspired people in this country and internationally with your courage. I would like to express my sincere thanks to you, your wider family and friends for your enormous contribution,” he concluded. These sentiments were also echoed by the HSE’s National Director of Communications, Mr. Paul Connors who remarked: “Today’s proceedings allow us to take a little time to mark and to celebrate a person and a family who have made a truly remarkable contribution to the health of the nation.” He added: “The HSE QUIT team first worked with Gerry Collins and his family in 2011, and then again from September to December 2013, to create three new TV adverts and a longer online film about his life, his illness and what he was going to miss as a result of it. During this time, our documentary team interviewed the family and captured a rich set of interviews and background film to illustrate his story.”
Caption for photo 1: Daughter of the late Gerry Collins, Lisa Collins, speaking at the HSE Healthcare Leaders Masterclass 2016 with her mum and Gerry’s wife Delly Collins and Fidelma Browne, Head of Programme and Campaigns, HSE Communications Division.
Speaking at the event, Gerry’s daughter Lisa said: “It is an honour for us to be here on behalf of Gerry. It’s been an amazing and unique journey over the last two and half years. Watching that footage is quite emotional, but it is very beautiful; we are glad we have that. A question that comes around a lot is what was it like for the family to do this kind to thing. I don’t think there is a particular answer. I think if you asked anyone of us on any particular day, you’d get any given answer. I know it is harder for some than others, and that’s their contribution to the campaign. But I was talking to my sister Ciara, who is in the Middle East and couldn’t be here, and she reminded me of a bit more selfish reason why Dad did this, which was we could do something good with the old man and to bring our family together at a time that had the potential to be quite dark and he did that and the QUIT campaign did that for us and we are grateful.” Lisa said the family were delighted that the ads had been so effective and the campaign has been so successful. She thanked the HSE Tobacco Control and Communications team, the production crew and all involved in making the adverts, saying the family had felt supported and cared for throughout the process. She concluded: “I want to thank the man himself, who obviously is not here today. I guess without him these particular adds would not have been made, and we believe without the essence of who he is, the adds would not have been what they are, so thanks Gerry, thanks Dad.” Getting the right support to QUIT Here at QUIT, we have found that getting the right help and support will double your chances of success. The QUIT team are standing by to help you QUIT and are available by phone, Facebook, Live chat or Freetext. Talk to the QUIT team Call Us| 1800 201 203 Email Us| firstname.lastname@example.org Text Us| Freetext QUIT to 50100 Tweet Us | @HSEQuitTeam Facebook Us | facebook.com/HSEQuit
Last updated on: 31 / 05 / 2016