We are working towards developing one of the most advanced networks of radiation oncology in the world National Cancer Control Programme press office

But health analyst and contributor Marie O’Connor, says: ‘Cancer sufferers will soon be treated like commodities, sold off, in effect, to the lowest bidder’.

This is the backdrop to Cancer in a Cold Climate, a book about the struggle to save St Luke’s Hospital, a beacon of medical care and spiritual sustenance for cancer sufferers and their families for over half a century in Ireland. Only the brand is to survive, on current plans.

Enid O’Dowd lays bare the highs and lows of the campaign, the disappointments, deceptions, advances and achievements. Patients and their families explain, in their own words, why this proven centre of excellence should not be closed.

The book exposes how Luke’s was shafted; the unaccountably low marks given by the ‘experts’ to the leafy 18-acre site in Rathgar, a key expert report that never made the Minister’s desk, and the new ‘business plan’ commissioned for the hospital ‘estate’.

Welcome to an Alice-in-Wonderland world of meetings without minutes, ‘no show’ politicians, and telephone calls from Vietnam. A world where ‘best practice’ mean no beds and no food.

O’Dowd’s message is crystal-clear: patients must be protected. The decision to close St Luke’s must be reversed. With your help, St Luke’s can still be saved.

ENID O’DOWD is a writer, community activist and health campaigner. In May 2010, two years after her involvement with St Luke’s began, her husband became a patient of St Luke’s.

The book is available online from www.originalwriting.ie and can also be obtained in Easons (ask for it by name if it’s out of stock). It is also available in Dubray Books, Swan Centre Rathmines, the Ranelagh Arts Festival Shop, 26 Ranelagh and in Waterford at the Book Store, and at Books n Things.

Senator David Norris launched the book at the Irish Writers Centre on 2 November.

A second launch event takes place in the Ranelagh Festival Shop on Thursday 2 December 6-8pm. All welcome.

Cancer in a Cold Climate

Published by Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.