Kay McKeon

Kay McKeon

IACR PPI Council Champion

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2017. I am passionate about using my life experiences and work skills to make a positive impact. I recognise that I occupy a unique role as a patient advocate, designer, and researcher. In 2023 I was named the Irish Cancer Society PPI Champion for my contributions to PPI in cancer research in Ireland.


  • Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR)

I joined in 2018 as one of founding PPI council members. I designed the new IACR branding, built the website and create all the annual conference collateral. I assist academics to effectively communicate their research to the public. In 2022 I was appointed IACR PPI Champion. In 2023 I led a new PPI initiative at the annual conference; a dedicated IACR PPI session to foster future research partnerships between researchers and people affected by cancer on the island of Ireland. 

  • Irish Cancer Society (ICS)

I have been involved in several national media campaigns with ICS. I am co-facilitator on the ICS PPI Training for Researchers workshop and a recipient of the Patient Advocate in Cancer Research Champion Award. I am a funding application judge and have reviewed 4 PhD/Post Doc funding applications, the annual PhD Lay Abstract awards and the recent €4m Collaborative Cancer Survivorship Research Centre Grant.

  • Breakthrough Cancer Research (BCR)

My story has been used campaigns to promote the celebration of survivors and their lives after cancer. I assist academics in their lay communications and have given presentations on infographic best practise.

  • Patient Voice in Cancer Research (PVCR) + PPI Ignite @ UCD

As a patient partner I have participated in communication and innovation workshops.


My experiences with Breast Cancer and Patient Advocacy empowered me. It led me to pursue a Master’s in Design Thinking Research and my UCD Research Assistant role. My research is focused on The Information Deficits Experienced by people affected by Breast Cancer in Ireland.


I am Head of Design for Real Nation and have amassed over 20 years’ experience as a graphic designer. I have worked on the creative, client facing and administration sides of the design business.

My capabilities include branding, strategy, and campaigns. Visual communications, website, environmental design. Leading research, facilitating workshops, idea generation, presenting concepts, creating prototypes, and evolving designs all the way through to development. I have worked with patients, public, researchers and professionals and guided those who have no experience through the design process. I support clients every step of the way through using a human centred and design-led approach.

My diverse range of clients include global high end corporate and luxury brands, international NGOs, health and wellness, tourism and sports sectors and SMEs. These are based in Ireland, the UK, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Donate to Cancer Research

All donations to the IACR go directly towards supporting early-stage oncology scientific researchers in their work.

Contact Us

Contact Us
Irish Association for Cancer Research
9A Coolkill, Sandyford, Dublin 18

T: +353 (0)1 295 8859
E: info@iacr.ie

Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) is a registered charity on the Register of Charitable Organisations.

Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20030117

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