About HERO

What is HERO?

HERO is an organisation set up to provide funding for research and education in the discipline of haematology in University College Cork and any of its affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions. HERO is a registered charity entirely funded by donations. HERO works in partnership with nurses, doctors and research scientists to advance patient care in haematology.

Milestones and objectives

HERO funding enabled the first research project set up between the Cork Cancer Research Centre and the world’s 14th ranked university, Weill Cornell in New York. Nina Orfali, HERO’s previous research doctor, studied the way cancer cell death is controlled using the specialized laboratory techniques and expertise available on both sides of the Atlantic. Dalyia Benjamin is now carrying on this work and is HERO’s new research doctor.

In the future, we hope to continue to employ at least one research doctor or scientist to carry on this productive work with your support.

What kind of research does HERO support?

Research into blood disorders contributes to our scientific knowledge on treating and curing blood disorders. Our current focus is on cancers of the blood, like leukaemia. There has been extensive progress in treating and curing blood cancers and other blood disorders in the last decade and we hope that HERO will be contribute to progress in advancing care in disorders such as leukaemia and lymphoma over the next decade with help from our generous donors.

What kind of education does HERO support?

The charity supports the ongoing education of haematology nurses by funding specialist courses and postgraduate degrees where other funding is not available and where the additional knowledge will directly improve the care of patients with blood disorders.

Examples of research supported by HERO

So far HERO has supported scientific research on the origins and destruction of leukaemia cells. This research is ongoing in UCC in collaboration with Cork Cancer Research Centre and with international collaborators in Weill Cornell University in the USA, in Nottingham, UK and Bern, Switzerland.

We have published new knowledge on the effects of treatment on acute myeloid leukaemia in the last two years. This award-winning research has been presented at the Haematology Association of Ireland, the American Society for Haematology and the European Haematology Association.

In Cork University Hospital, HERO has also provided funding to research clotting problems such as lung and leg clots in patients with blood cancers. Supported by HERO and other sources, Dr. Maeve Crowley was awarded the opportunity to present her research to the American Society for Haematology in November 2013.

Education supported by HERO

Within the Department of Haematology in CUH, much of the complex care of out-patients recently discharged haematology patients is undertaken by nurses. Some nurses go forward to gain postgraduate qualifications in their chosen area. These courses are expensive and carried out in the nurses’ free time and sometimes HERO helps.

Where nurses have not been able to get full support from their employer, HERO has stepped in to ensure that the nurse is able to continue with postgraduate study that will directly benefit the haematology patient. So far, HERO has funded the specialised training of several nurses in the areas of blood cancers and clotting problems. Clotting problems and blood cancer often go together. HERO has also supported nurses to present their work at Haematology Scientific Conferences.

In another initiative part-funded by HERO, nurses learned how to do a proceedure called bone marrow aspiration and trephine biopsy. This proceedure has traditionally been done by doctors. We sent two of our senior haematology nurses to the Marsden Hospital in London to do a course specifically designed to teach nurses to do this proceedure.

We audited patient satisfaction with the nurses performing bone marrow examination and found it was as good as (and sometimes better!) than the satisfaction with medical staff. This education initiative would not have happened without HERO’s support and has directly impacted and improved the quality of patient care.

How is HERO organised and managed?

HERO is a registered charity run by a board made up of medical, nursing and lay members. It is subject to statutory annual audit. Our experienced Chairman, Mr. Noel O’ Regan, has previously worked with The Irish Guide Dogs for The Blind and London based charity -Threshold.

How does HERO grant money?

All applications for funding should be completed by an eligible applicant using this form.

The applicant should be supported by a named board member with whom the application should be discussed before submission.

Applicants must be approved for funding before they begin their training or research.

Applications for smaller sums (less than €200) may be vetted and granted by two board members outside of board meetings. Applications for sums greater than €200 are considered during board meetings. Larger applications (for sums in excess of €10,000) are reviewed by an additional outside expert. This ensures that funds are allocated to provide maximum positive impact on care of patients with blood disorders. Expert review also serves to ensure that any proposed project is of a high standard academically and in line with or ahead of current advances in the proposed area of study.

The application process begins with downloading and completing this application form and e mailing to rosarus86@gmail.com.

You can donate by contacting the Department of Haematology in CUH.


The board of HERO meet 4 times per year. However the work of HERO is carried out on a daily basis by our board the nurses, doctors, researchers and fundraisers working with us.

If the board receives an application for funding that requires a descision before the next meeting, an early meeting may be called.

HERO Directors

– Noel O’Regan (Chair)

– Dr. Cleona Duggan (Secretary 2017-)

– Dr. Oonagh Gilligan,

-Ms Emma Bolger (treasurer June 2016)

-Ms Aine Herlihy

– Ms Joan Burke

Former board Members include

Dr Mary Cahill ( Secretary 2016/2017)

Dr Clodagh Ryan (Former Secetary)

Dr Joan Power

Mr Peter Franklin – retired 2016 and

Ms Eileen O’Riordan -retired treasurer 2016 and

Ms Maura Twohig retired 2015

Remuneration of HERO Directors

The board of HERO gives their time freely. HERO would like to thanks our auditors O’Brien Cahill and Company for their work in setting up HERO as a Charity and the initial years’ accounts pro bono.

HERO pays for secretarial, accounting and website services – see our annual audited accounts.