Grace’s Service of Light

‘The person who inspires me the most is Dr Trisha Scanlan. Trisha is a paediatric oncologist which is a specialist doctor who treats children with cancer. She has used her gifts of courage, knowledge and right-judgment throughout her life to improve the lives of others.

Dr Trish first travelled to Tanzania while studying medicine in UCD, when she came back she decided that she could do much more in Tanzania for children than she could in Ireland. She studied some more to become a pediatric oncologist and in 2006 she returned to the Ocean Road cancer institute in Dar es Salam, Tanzania.

At that time, less than 100 new children attended the facility. Now, more than 500 new children are treated every year and 60% of them children survive. In 2012 they opened a new ward called Upendo, this is the Swahili word for LOVE.

Another big step she took was to add some fun and laughter to the childrens’ lives. They now have a fully functioning school, and play therapy programme. This all cost money so she set up a charity called T.L.M which in English it stands for ‘Their Lives Matter’.

In her own words “The result we get is joy: to see a child who arrives full of pain and fear start causing mischief or simply giggling uncontrollably. It’s the best feeling in the world to be part of that.”

I admire her gift of knowledge. Last year she got the Kathleen Lynn medal. It is the highest award in Ireland to recognise paediatricians that have been outstanding in their careers and in their contribution to their area of medicine.

Trisha has shown courage and patience in surviving cancer twice in her life. She lights up the lives of many children almost every day spreading love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. Trish is a great friend of my mums and incredibly fun to be around.

May we, like Trish, be a Light to the World.’