Praise for ovarian cancer survivor as campaign backed
Members of Derry City & Strabane City Council fully supported a notice of motion brought by Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly, supporting Ovacome’s BEAT campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer.
Colr. Donnelly’s motion acknowledged the courage of local ovarian cancer survivor and campaigner Natalie Cairns.
He noted that ‘women who are diagnosed at an early stage with ovarian cancer have a 90 percent survival rate for five years beyond diagnosis as opposed to women diagnosed at a later stage with the disease, where survival rates are significantly lower.’
The motion called for Council to help ‘promote awareness of ovarian cancer and applaud the courage of local ovarian cancer survivor Natalie Cairns and commend all those campaigning locally to raise awareness of the illness.’
Having attended a Zoom meeting with Natalie Cairns and other women, Councillor Donnelly spoke about how it had ‘struck home how serious an issue this is.’
The motion received the support from all parties before Councillor Donnelly concluded: “Cancer is a horrible disease, it’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate and given that sometimes there is a lot of division amongst us, this is something we can all agree on.
“Maybe next year we can build on Natalie’s campaign. We are talking about our sisters, our mum, even our daughters. If even by our actions and Natalie’s campaign that one life is saved – this is preventable, this is treatable, it’s a matter of recognising the signs and getting treated.”
The motion passed unanimously.
Council buildings in Derry and Strabane in early March were lit up blue to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer, the illness that has become known as the silent killer, as it can often go undetected due to lack of awareness and lack of screening. 165 women in the North are diagnosed with the condition each year, more commonly women who have gone through the menopause, but a number of cases are also being detected in younger women.
Natalie Cairns had her first Ovarian Cancer diagnosis when she was only 28 when it was picked up during pregnancy. Natalie is now campaigning for better services for other women here, after she struggled to find support locally when she received the devastating news that no woman wants to hear.
By Gillian Anderson
Local Democracy Reporter