by NICOLE MADIGAN EVEREST
You hear about it almost every day.
In the news, on television, statistics, sometimes even friends of friends.
Yet you never think it’s going to happen to you. Until it does.
I never contemplated being directly impacted by cancer.
I never even entertained the prospect that my friends or family would ever fall victim to it.
Yet they have.
Considering the statistics, it’s quite illogical to think cancer won’t touch your life, one way or another.
First two of my brother’s closest friends lost their lives to cancer.
Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer – a devastating reality check if ever I’ve had one.
Surgery and a benign tumour resulted in her survival. An outcome I am thankful for every day.
And then this happened.
My sister-in-law lost her life to Cervical Cancer.
My beautiful, fit, healthy, young sister-in-law.
Janelle was 34 when she lost her battle. Leaving behind her husband, Brett and two gorgeous children, Keirra, 5 and Ethan, 3.
And what a battle is was. Janelle fought harder and endured more than any person should have to. She did it because she loved life. And believed in miracles.
Her mantra throughout her journey was to “never never never give up”. And she never did.
And neither did her husband – my brother – who was by her side every step of the way. Her biggest supporter. Her biggest believer.
And although he’s now coping with the loss of his soulmate, he still hasn’t given up. Brett is dedicated to fulfilling Nelly’s dream – to help others fighting terminal illness and help raise awareness and funds for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.
Thirty-eight and a half Australian women out of every hundred don’t have a Pap test, or Pap smear, every two years as recommended.
Here’s why you should have them.
1. It prevents around 90% of cervical cancers.
2. Over 90% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer in Victoria either never had a Pap test, or had not had Pap tests regularly before being diagnosed. I’m no statistician, but we can assume that this percentage would roughly apply Australia-wide.