A life-sized statue is set to be unveiled by a West Cork community to honour the late Professor Gerry O’Sullivan, a pioneer in the field of cancer research, and founder of Cork Cancer Research Centre and the national charity Breakthrough Cancer Research.
The statue will be officially unveiled by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan and Professor O'Sullivan’s widow Breda and family in the Professor Gerry O’Sullivan Memorial Park, Caheragh, at 2pm on National Cancer Survivors Day, on Sunday June 5.
The keynote speaker at the event will be one of the world’s most influential scientists, leading immunologist, author and broadcast personality, Prof Luke O’Neill.
The late Prof O’Sullivan was a highly acclaimed surgeon, scientist and cancer researcher. He was deeply rooted in the West Cork community. He grew up on a farm in Milleenahorna, Caheragh, Co Cork, went to Gurrane National School, and then to St Fachtna's De La Salle High School in Skibbereen. He spent as much of his free time as possible ‘down West’ and religiously attended the Threshing Festival in the community every year until he passed away in 2012.
In 2014, the local Caheragh community created a ‘Science Through Nature’ themed recreational park, which was named in his honour to preserve his memory and inspire future generations.
Eight years later, the same community have come together again to commission a life-size statue of the late professor, which will take centre place in the Professor Gerry O’Sullivan Memorial Park. The statue was created by sculptor Don Cronin.
Chair of the committee Micheál Kirby, said, “Professor O’Sullivan died at the young age of 65 from cancer, a disease he had spent his whole career saving others from. We are so incredibly proud of his achievements.
Orla Dolan, Prof O’Sullivan's daughter, who is continuing his vision as CEO of Breakthrough Cancer Research, said, “My father always had a special place in his heart for West Cork and the people of Caheragh.
The statue unveiling is an event open to the public from 1.30pm-4pm on Sunday, June 5. In addition to the commemoration ceremony, there will be dancing performances from the local national school, music with the St Fachtna’s Silver Band, facepainting and food trucks.