Orla Tinsley, cystic fibrosis campaigner, journalist and author, was awarded The President’s Medal at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) annual conference in Dublin, Thursday 29 November 2018.
Ms. Tinsley is just the sixth recipient of this award which is given to individuals whose unique excellence in communications sets a supreme example for PRII members and the general public. Previous recipients are John Hume, Ed Walsh, Gay Byrne, Chris Roche and most recently in 2007 Mary Davis of Special Olympics.
Presenting the award, PRII President Cian Connaughton said, “This is in recognition of Orla’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.”
“Recognising excellent communications is one of the Institute’s key missions. 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’. She has also generated a huge public response, with the Irish Kidney Association receiving 10,000 donor card requests, twice what they would receive in a whole year after the RTÉ “Orla Tinsley: Warrior” documentary aired in September.”
On accepting the award Ms Tinsley, addressing the conference from New York 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 creates 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."
The President’s Medal
The PRII President’s Medal is bestowed very rarely in recognition of the truly outstanding nature of the recipient’s inspiring contribution to communications. Nominations must be unanimously agreed by National Council.
Previous recipients are: John Hume (1995), politician and a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize; Ed Walsh (1996), educationalist and founding President of University of Limerick; Gay Byrne (1999) broadcaster; Chris Roche, (posthumously in 2003), entertainment publicist; and most recently Mary Davis (2007), CEO of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Orla Tinsley becomes only the sixth recipient of The PRII President’s Medal.