Ballaghaderreen native John Cooke wins Irish Medical Media award
The moving story of women battling cancer sees a Ballaghaderreen man win the top Irish Medical Media award, the moving personal cancer experiences of three women have received national recognition after Ballaghaderreen native and journalist John Cooke claimed a top Irish Medical Media award for his Clare FM special featuring their story.
Clare FM’s Morning Focus Presenter John Cooke and producer Niamh McNamara, were honoured at a ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday night for a feature on Ovarian Cancer which was broadcast in May of this year.
The interview heard Ann Murphy from Tulla, Ennistymon woman Margaret Barry and Marie Phelan from Ennis outline their own battles with cancer of the ovaries in a bid to encourage other women to be aware of signs and symptoms to ensure early detection and save lives. It’s the second year in a row that Clare FM has won the award sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, which recognises excellence in health related journalism, and other big winners on the night included RTE and The Irish Times. The judging panel was chaired by RTE Journalist and former Questions and Answers Presenter Dr. John Bowman who presented the awards.
According to the judges “John Cooke of Clare FM won the consumer broadcast media award at the GSK Irish Medical Media Awards for his exploration of ovarian cancer with three patients; for the educational and empowering value of the broadcast; and for his ability to prompt all the relevant information from his witnesses with appropriate and sympathetic questioning”
The winning radio feature was broadcast live on Clare FM’s Morning Focus in May of this year and during the programme participants Marie Phelan and Margaret Barry outlined how they had overcome ovarian cancer, while oncology nurse Ann Murphy also detailed her own experience of the fourth most common cancer facing women, outlining statistics from the Irish Cancer Society revealing that over 300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Ireland every year. Poignantly, Ann also spoke of losing her sister Grainne to the disease last year and went on to tell listeners of her “informed decision” to undergo further preventative measures to avoid other cancers as her family carry a rare cancer causing gene. The defective BRCA 1 gene greatly increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and was brought to world-wide attention this year when fellow carrier and Hollywood Actor Angelina Jolie revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy.
The three women who spoke to Clare FM are part of the Slainte an Chlair Clare Cancer Support Centre, and paying tribute to their bravery, presenter John Cooke thanked them and others who are part of the Kilnamona-based group. “Margaret, Ann and Marie are three inspirational women that I was privileged to meet”, he said, “and I salute their openness and generosity in sharing their experiences with me and my listeners. I’ve been fortunate to get to know many amazing people though Slainte an Chlair”, he added, “who have overcome their own personal challenges to speak out about the illnesses we fear, or have lost someone through, but I do believe that in doing so, they have made a huge difference to the lives of others facing cancer treatment, and to the survival chances of many who will face these illnesses in the future”. Wishing his three interviewees good health and happiness, Mr Cooke concluded with the view that “by getting the county talking about cancer and raising awareness, I hope that we are making progress in the fight against the disease.
Clare FM’s Morning Focus also won an Irish Medical Media Award last year for a series of interviews in which John Cooke spoke to high profile local men about their experience of cancer, while the programme also celebrated a Bronze Award in the Best Current Affairs Programme Category at the PPI National Radio Awards last month, and a Justice Media Award in June.
Commenting on the Irish Medical Media Award win, Clare FM’s General Manager Susan Murphy described the prize as “a wonderful tribute to these courageous ladies who told us their stories and allowed us to highlight this very important issue. It’s an honour for the Station to win an award for highlighting something as important as ovarian cancer”, she added and “we are delighted to be recognised in these awards over the last couple of years”. Ms Murphy concluded by praising another “great achievement for the Morning Focus team, who work tirelessly to highlight issues affecting our listeners”.
The Irish Medical Media Award Winning Feature, Clare Women on Ovarian Cancer and other Morning Focus Highlights can be heard on www.clare.fm/podcasts
Further information on local cancer support services and the Slainte an Chlair group can be found on www.clarecancersupport.com