The Tony Fenton Foundation was formed in 2016 in memory of Ireland’s much loved radio DJ. The most distinctive radio voice of his generation, the epitome of the dynamic music-loving jock, Tony sadly passed away on the 12th of March 2015, after a five-year battle with cancer, specifically melanoma and prostate.
The Foundation was established by Tony’s brother Paul, to continue the conversation that Tony had bravely started around men’s reluctance to share their health concerns. One of Tony’s greatest legacies was to speak out publicly about his own cancers, the fear, the sadness and the worry. In doing so, he inspired many to start their own conversations, empowering them to prevent, detect and treat illnesses of all kinds.
The Tony Fenton Foundation aims to facilitate honest, positive and straightforward conversations around men’s heath at community level, giving men the confidence to seek help without hesitation or embarrassment.
The core mission of The Tony Fenton Foundation is to empower men in relation to the prevention and early detection of challenges to their health and well-being.
Our vision is a society where there is better education and open conversation around men’s health, contributing to timely prevention, detection and treatment
To facilitate open and honest conversations around men’s health at community level
NEWS AND STORIES
The Tony Fenton Foundation to formally launch with Golf Classic at Carton House – 22nd September
New charity aims to help better educate men in relation to the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses The Tony Fenton Golf Classic is calling on sponsors and participants to get involved to help funds and awareness in the name of ‘The Dude’ 26 July 2017 The Tony Fenton Foundation (TFF) will formally launch on the 22nd of September 2017…
GET A GRIP CAMPAIGN
The Tony Fenton Foundation is currently developing Get a Grip, our first community based educational initiative.
Along with our partners at the GAA and the HSE, the Foundation will bring Get a Grip events to communities and parishes across Ireland.
Get a Grip will be an informal social evening, hosted by the Foundation and a small team of health professionals, local HSE nurses, nutritionists and psychologists. Our events are designed to be relaxed and laid back, taking an honest and positive look at men’s health, with a dose of humour for good measure.
Get a Grip events, which will launch later in 2017, will include personal stories, discussions on nutrition, exercise and positive headspace, as well as the basic facts and tips on detection and prevention. There is also the opportunity for quick one-to-one chats with health workers.
All monies donated to the Tony Fenton Foundation at this time will be used to develop this campaign and get it up and running in local communities.
It’s time to Get A Grip on your health. Start your own conversation today with family, friends or health professionals. Sharing your concerns is the first step towards taking control of your health and well-being.
Tony Fenton’s most lasting legacy is the unwavering love and respect felt for him by so many, not only family, friends and colleagues, but the wider Irish public who spent more than 35 years listening to Tony’s voice on the airwaves. Tony in the public eye was exactly the same person in private life – energetic, funny, kind, generous, passionate. A straight talker, he never suffered fools, Tony said it like it was but in the nicest possible way. He always had great words of encouragement and advice for those he loved, always took the time to talk with everyone in the room. He lived each day to the full and inspired those around him to do the same.
Born in Donnycarney in 1961, Tony always wanted to be on the radio. Tucked up in bed at night, a teenage Tony would listen avidly to the chat and tunes broadcasting from Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. Mimicing the jocks with their exuberant vocals and zealous patois, Tony’s presenting style was honed long before he ever put mouth to mic. He was enthralled by music, the 70’s was an explosion of diverse sounds and styles. Tony embraced them all, never sheepishly following the pack, always on the hunt for a great new tune, whether it was the Sex Pistols or Bowie, T-Rex or Marvin Gaye. While best known for his passion for music and his vast vinyl collection, Tony was equally fervent about football, a life-long devoted fan of Chelsea FC. He was a fantastic young footballer himself and played at Home Farm for many years, alongside future Irish international Ronnie Whelan
He left RTE in 2003 to pursue other interests and take a break from the demanding schedules of radio, but found himself like a fish out of water. In 2004 he stepped back behind the mic with independent national broadcaster Today FM and never looked back. Tony loved being an integral part of the fabric of Irish radio. Playing tunes, interviewing celebrities, giving new Irish bands a leg-up, his infamous quizzes, chatting with listeners on air, these were the things that made Tony happy. He won a multitude of accolades for his work and in 2008, the PPI awarded him ‘Music Broadcaster of the Year’. It was a milestone in his career but even then Tony was quick to note that his success was only made possible by the support of his close knit radio family. In November 2014, Tony was inducted into the PPI Radio Hall of Fame, the pinnacle of recognition by the radio industry and a fitting tribute to Tony’s 35 years at the heart of Irish radio, a true reflection of the delight he brought to hundreds and thousands of listeners across Ireland. He was loved throughout the radio business, a testament to his professionalism and integrity in an industry that is known for its tough competitiveness. Tony was a people person through and through. He loved company, was the life and soul of the party, but as importantly, he possessed a keen nose for a friend who was off form or down on their luck.
Tony was very proactive with his health. In 2010 he had noted a mole on his thigh and was keeping a close eye on it. Later that year he accidentally tore it one morning and following a trip to his GP, discovered it was a cancerous melanoma. Shortly after receiving this news, the family lost their beloved Mum Ethna to breast cancer and in an utterly cruel turn of fate, his sister Ann was soon diagnosed with breast cancer. Both Tony and Ann sought treatment immediately and to everyone’s relief both made an excellent recovery, however Tony’s was to be short lived.
He returned for check-ups and insisted on further investigations and a second opinion. It turned out that Tony had signs of prostate cancer. He didn’t hesitate and acted immediately, opting for an innovative surgery in Germany to remove the cancer cells without damaging the prostate. He returned after a week, feeling uplifted and positive but the fight had only just begun. Up to this time, just a handful of family and close friends knew how unwell Tony was. Within a few weeks, it became apparent that Tony’s health was not improving and further investigation showed that the cancer had spread, affecting Tony’s kidney, stomach and brain. His world fell apart and he struggled greatly with his illness, but from deep within Tony found the strength to fight back. Most at home behind the mic, Tony decided that instead of hiding his illness, some good could come from sharing his battle. His radio family rallied around him as the news broke. He bravely sat with friend Matt Cooper and told his story to listeners across Ireland.
When he left school he worked with his Dad Brendan in the family carpentry business but his real ambition was to find a way to work with music. Himself and mate Barry Lang saved up for decks and lights and set up a mobile disco, their first gig a dance in the local scout hall. The budding DJs were hooked and spent every weekend playing birthday parties around Dublin. Later neighbour Ian Dempsey joined and the three travelled all over Dublin, car stuffed with equipment, spinning vinyl at weddings and parties, making a few quid, learning how to read an audience, growing their burgeoning record collections and turning the heads of many young ladies.
Tony spotted an ad by local pirate radio station Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD), who were looking for ‘new jocks’ to join their crew. Tony recorded some presenting tapes and sent them in. It took a few failed attempts before ARD sat Tony in a small, cramped radio studio in 1979 and his distinctive voice debuted on Irish airwaves. Tony’s wide music tastes, booming tones and fun, tongue in cheek presenting style was a huge hit with listeners and his popularity grew quickly. Tony moved from local radio to the super pirate stations, who commanded a huge listenership at the time. After presenting stints on the legendary Sunshine Radio and Radio Nova, where he built up a huge, loyal listenership, Tony was approached by RTE Radio 2 (now RTE 2FM) and joined the national broadcaster in 1985. He contributed significantly to the growth of the station, cementing its nationwide popularity throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Tony headed up numerous primetime shows and was best known for his award winning The Hotline. Tony became a hugely popular figure in households across Ireland, enjoying the buzz and excitement of his new found prominence but remaining the same fun, friendly, warm and generous person he had always been.
He went on to undertake many interviews, sharing his hopes and fears, talking about his cancer, his body and mind. Tony had kick started a much-needed national conversation around men’s health. His core message was one of encouragement, addressed to all, but men especially – be confident in talking about health worries, be decisive in taking action. He spoke about the importance of sharing concerns and worries and not bottling them away. Tony advocated that there was no weakness or shame in being frightened, that embarrassment and awkwardness were as debilitating as illness itself. He took great solace from the messages of support that flooded in and was gratified to hear from men of all ages, up and down the country, who had been spurred into action after hearing his story.
Unfortunately, despite many treatments, Tony’s cancer continued to become more aggressive. Tony left us to take up residence in the great record store in the sky on March 12, 2015. It was a bleak day, not just for his family, friends and colleagues, but for the hundreds of thousands of people who invited Tony into their kitchens and living rooms, cars and offices every day. The outpouring of love and loss was overwhelming, everyone had a Tony story to tell because he did so much in his short time with us. He lived life to the full and he brought so many along with him for the rollercoaster ride.
Tony’s send-off was a vibrant, positive, sad and funny celebration. He would have loved it, every second of it. At 2.30pm on the day of his funeral, every radio station in Ireland simultaneously broadcast Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer, one of Tony’s favourite songs. It was a heartbreaking moment, an entire country joined together to celebrate and mourn one man. Our Tony. The Dude.
GET A GRIP ON YOUR HEALTH TODAY!
TAKE A SPEED DATE WITH YOUR HEALTH!
With the push and pull of daily life it can be difficult to take the time to listen to your body and act on worries or concerns.
Many people struggle on while feeling unwell believing the symptoms don’t merit a doctor’s appointment. Others might feel embarrassed about discussing specific part of the body. Some people choose to self medicate hoping their pain or discomfort will be short lived while many of us believe that a general lack of well-being is part and parcel of life. Of course many of us hesitate in sharing our concerns because we are frightened. We might feel unwell, but do we really want to know what might be wrong?
But isn’t it better to give yourself the best chance of doing well again? We are encouraging everyone to get a grip on their health today. Listen to your body. It’s an incredible piece of machinery and has many ways of telling us when it’s not performing at its best. Think of it this way – if your car is acting up, you take it to the mechanic!
Being proactive about your health will give you a sense of positivity. It’s like tackling that long ‘to-do’ list. When it backs up, we feel stressed and overwhelmed. When we make an effort to clear it, we feel like we have achieved something and the stress is lessened. It’s the same when we share our worries or concernes with someone we trust. A problem shared is a problem halved – talk to family, friends, the doctor, or maybe a new doctor.
Visiting the doctor can be overwhelming, especially if you’re worried or feeling embarrassed and stressed. It can be easy to forget everything you wanted to say.
A good way to approach a doctor’s visit is to write down in advance all that you’ve noticed or felt, even if it seems unimportant, and hand that to your doctor at the start of the appointment and let them lead the conversation with this information. Some people feel more comfortable taking a loved one or a close friend with them on a GP visit, to be an advocate for them when discussing medical matters, lending support and helping to remember details.
Here’s a quick set of questions to ask yourself, help speed-date if you like! If you answer ‘yes!’ to any of the questions, then it’s well worth visiting your GP for a checkup.
Always remember, it is their job to best guide you on your health.
Chances are there is nothing to worry about, but it’s always better to play safe.
Click below to donate using PayPal
Your donation will help The Tony Fenton Foundation to continue Tony’s work to:
Support men adopt positive health behaviours and increase control over their own lives.
Provide information to change the attitude that being sick and seeking help is seen as a weakness.
Recognise the importance of feeling well – physically and mentally.
We are working on ways to make it easier for you to add your support, for now you can donate via PayPal or directly to our Registered Bank Account:
Contributions to AIB Bank Donnybrook:
IBAN IE32 AIBK 9310 3923 5460 55