‘I miss my parents every day’, says Shane Filan as he begins cancer charity role

The Westlife star lost both of his parents to the disease just nine months apart.
The Westlife star lost both of his parents to the disease just nine months apart.

Westlife star Shane Filan has told how he misses his parents every day, as he takes on a new role with the Irish Cancer Society.

The Sligo-born singer, 43, lost both his parents, Mae and Peter, to cancer just nine months apart in 2019-20.

He said becoming the charity’s official ambassador for its Relay for Life is his way of keeping their memory alive.

The relay sees communities come together for a 24-hour event to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who have been lost to the disease, and raise awareness of the services provided by the Irish Cancer Society locally and nationally.

Westlife ‘My Blood’ video
Shane Filan with his son Shane Jr, who appeared in a Westlife video together (Westlife/PA)

Filan said: “I can’t express how proud I am to come on board as ambassador for the Irish Cancer Society Relay for Life.

“My mum died of lung cancer in 2019 and my dad died just over nine months later from pancreatic cancer, so I know all too well the devastating effects a cancer diagnosis can have on a family.

“Unfortunately there are very few families in this country who aren’t affected by cancer in one way or another, so this is a cause and an organisation I am extremely passionate about.

“I am excited to be involved as ambassador, in fact I find great comfort in it.”

Filan said he wants every corner of Ireland to get involved.

“I know my parents are here with me today and I know they would be proud of me.

Shane Filan, second left, with his Westlife bandmates (PA)

“I feel like I am starting something that will be really massive in my life, in my family’s life, in my children’s lives, in my siblings’ life.

“Hopefully it will make a difference.

“I’m really excited about this, for how big it can be. We want to hold one massive national event in 2023 and then hopefully it will ripple down through every county in Ireland. I want every corner of the country to do it with me, to have every county involved.

“This is only the start of my Relay for Life journey.

“This is something your whole family can get involved with together, raising funds to support the Irish Cancer Society’s vital services and life-changing cancer research. Without fundraising, none of this important work would be possible, so I encourage everyone to get involved and sign up to take part.

“I miss my parents every single day but this is my way of helping to keep their memory alive.”