Local cancer campaigners to lobby for change at Westminster

Paul's Campaign in a previous annual fundraising walk around the walls.
Paul's Campaign in a previous annual fundraising walk around the walls.

Three Derry-based organisations working to promote cancer awareness will tomorrow lobby MPs at Westminster to implement changes which would help save thousands of lives.

A delegation of those at the helm of the Pink Ladies, Team Sorcha and Paul’s Campaign will meet with influential MPs in a visit organised by Foyle Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion.

Pictured are some of the people who attended a previous  Pink Ladies and Team Sorcha Cervical Cancer Awareness Coffee Morning in memory of Sorcha Glen held in the Maldron Hotel. Included in the picture are Martina Anderson MEP and Mark H Durkan MLA. DER0417GS020

Pictured are some of the people who attended a previous Pink Ladies and Team Sorcha Cervical Cancer Awareness Coffee Morning in memory of Sorcha Glen held in the Maldron Hotel. Included in the picture are Martina Anderson MEP and Mark H Durkan MLA. DER0417GS020

The groups were due to leave from Derry this morning ahead of the series of key engagements in Westminster on Wednesday.

Jacqui Loughrey and Maureen Collins from the Pink Ladies will be calling for an increase in the amount of money spent on looking at prevention. Maureen said: “Whilst we recognise money must be spent on research, we are asking for money to be spent on prevention.”

The Pink Ladies have been to the fore of highlighting potentially harmful chemicals and additives in food and products people use every day and which can contribute to cancer and other health conditions. They will be joined by representatives from SkinNinja, which has been matching world leading expert evidence to ingredients used in hundreds of thousands of products.

Representatives of Team Sorcha, which was set up following the death of Sorcha Glenn from cervical cancer aged 23, will also be making a presentation calling for recommendations to be changed so that smear tests will be available on demand, rather than being age restricted.

Sorcha Glenn passed away in October 2014 following a 13 month battle with cervical cancer. Sorcha had had the HPV vaccination whilst at school, and in June 2013 had requested a smear test, as she felt something wasn’t right, but was advised that smears aren’t routinely done until a woman is 25. After initially being refused, she later secured a smear test and was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2013. Prior to her death she was involved in raising awareness among other women.

Sorcha’s mother Christina Glenn and sister Orlagh Robson are among those travelling to Westminster and are lobbying for changes to end age discrimination. They will be joined by other families campaigning in Britain.

Francie Coyle, who set up Paul’s Campaign in memory of his son Paul, who passed away in 2011 just weeks after being diagnosed with Sarcoma on his 27th birthday, will also address MPs.

Mr Coyle will be joined by Sharon McCleary, whose own child was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2016.

They will be calling for an end to the classification of sarcoma as a rare cancer, and for awareness and training for health professionals to ensure they can identify and recognise symptoms as earlier detection can save lives.

The groups will be calling for key Westminster legislation and guidelines already in place in Scotland, Wales and parts of England to be extended to Northern Ireland.