Orla Tinsley honoured by Public Relations Institute of Ireland

Award recognises Ms Tinsley’s ‘tireless campaigning’

Orla Tinsley, Cystic Fibrosis campaigner is ‘proof of the power of storytelling’, the PRII has said. File photograph: Alan Betson

Orla Tinsley, Cystic Fibrosis campaigner is ‘proof of the power of storytelling’, the PRII has said. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Cystic fibrosis campaigner and journalist Orla Tinsley was awarded The President’s Medal at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) for her health campaigning.

Ms Tinsley is the sixth recipient of this award which is given to people who demonstrate excellence in communications.

Previous recipients include John Hume, Ed Walsh, Gay Byrne, Chris Roche and Mary Davis.

Accepting the award from New York where she is now based, she said: “I am grateful to be considered in this way because it allows me to serve as a conduit to convey how important it is to share our stories, particularly in the effort to raise awareness of important issues like Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation.”

“It is the story being told out loud and those actively listening to it that create the possibility of change together. I am grateful for my community whose radical love and support has kept me alive and created new life for so many others as well.”

PRII President Cian Connaughton said the award recognises Ms Tinsley’s “tireless campaigning” over the past decade “to improve services for people with cystic fibrosis, including the provision of Orkambi, and her ceaseless campaign on the importance of organ donation”.

“Orla is proof of the power of storytelling, at any age. In telling her story, Orla has brought about unparalleled change in Irish healthcare, with legislation due on making organ donation an ‘opt out’, ” said Mr Connaughton.

He said The Irish Kidney Association received 10,000 donor card requests, twice what they would receive in a whole year after the RTÉ documentary, Orla Tinsley: Warrior, aired in September.

The documentary was filmed over 14 months in New York and charted Ms Tinsley’s struggle while her cystic fibrosis worsened as she awaited a life-saving double lung transplant, which she finally secured following a number of false alarms.