Jamie Dornan speaks of impact of mother’s death from cancer
‘It has an ever evolving effect on me,’ says actor, launching pancreatic cancer support group
Actor Jamie Dornan (right) with his sister Jessica Dornan Lynas and father Dr Jim Dornan, during the Pancreatic Cancer charity NIPanC launch at the Mater Hospital in Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Actor Jamie Dornan has spoken of the pain of losing his mother as he threw his weight behind a new group set up to support those suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Dornan’s mother Lorna died from the disease in 1998 when he was just 16.
The Fall star revealed the loss still has an impact on him every day even 20 years later.
“I look back on that time and see it in a very blurry way,” he said.
“I was very young, I was 14 when my mum got diagnosed and had just turned 16 when she died.
“Every kid at that age is naive, I felt like I was particularly young and naive at that time.
“I was a wee bit behind compared to my mates growing up, but I had to grow up pretty fast after that.
“It has an ever evolving effect on me, that loss, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
“I feel like every single day it has an effect on me in ways which I am aware of and some ways I think I am not aware of. But, I am not alone in that, lots of people have lost people that are very dear to them at a young age.”
The 36-year-old from Holywood, Co Down, who played the lead role in the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy, said his mum would have loved his career.
He described her as “very glamorous” and said she would have especially loved the aspects of his job that he hates.
“I would have been able to take her to LA, and go to premieres and that sort of stuff — it’s all the stuff I hate about the job funnily enough. The stuff I can’t stand but my mum would have loved it.
“She would have been very tickled by the fact I make a career out of this weird thing that I do.
“Hopefully there is some world where she has an awareness of it.”
Dornan is currently in Belfast for six weeks filming a new BBC series, an adaptation of the Eugene McCabe book Death And Nightingales, with many from the team who made The Fall.
He admitted being relieved to be out of the head space he had to be in to film The Fall, but said acting as serial killer Paul Spector was a “brilliant experience”, adding it was lovely to be reunited with the team again in his latest role.
Along with his father James and sister Jess at the Mater Hospital in the city on Wednesday, he threw his weight behind a new group set up to support families battling pancreatic cancer.
Dornan is now a patron of the group NIPanC which aims to promote better outcomes for pancreatic cancer sufferers in Northern Ireland.
“I just don’t think anything like this existed, on such a level (when my mum was ill),” he said.
“It would have been fantastic to speak to other people going through the same sort of awful situation that we found ourselves in.
“I feel privileged to play some part in drawing attention to this illness and I feel quite determined to try and help in whatever way I can to change the statistics on this illness which are still pretty bleak, and I don’t think there has been a great improvement on them in 40 years.
“The more we can do to try and raise awareness and catch it earlier, and be more aware of the symptoms in that little window of time, to achieve that too.”
Pancreatic cancer is a major health issue for Northern Ireland, with around 270 deaths per year.
It has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer — rates which haven’t changed markedly in 40 years.
NIPanC is being set up in partnership with two national charities, Pancreatic Cancer Action (PCA) and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF), with the new group focusing on Northern Ireland. - PA