In February of this year, my heart was utterly broken. My darling Dad passed away from prostate cancer. This was a preventable, otherwise treatable disease, if caught early. We were too late. Over five years, he fought long and hard before his body finally succumbed.
The story below (excerpts from this lovely piece by Blake Foden) rings so familiar to me in many ways – a beautiful soul taken away without real reason, by a preventable, treatable disease. Natalie Paterson-Green, 28, lost her battle with cervical cancer earlier this month, almost two years after being diagnosed.
“If she had listened to doctors’ predictions, Natalie would have lost her two-year battle with cervical cancer several days before her wedding. But she was never one to show pain, and she wasn’t ready to go. Not yet.
Described by friends and family as “beautiful inside and out”, the couple met about seven years ago at a party in Dunedin. She was by his side through his battles with thyroid cancer in 2011 and testicular cancer a year later. He had not long been given the all-clear when Natalie was diagnosed in 2013.
“When she was going through chemo I could actually say to her, ‘I know how you feel’,” Caleb said.
“But if she was having a bad day, she didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s day. She just wanted to keep soldiering on with a big smile and she was there through all of it when I had cancer. She was always more worried about us than herself.”
After being given two days to live, Natalie defied doctors and kept fighting for more than a month, enough time granted to walk down the aisle with the man she loved.
“For that one day she was so much better,” her sister Tammy Paterson said.
“I can’t believe she managed to walk … she even got up to dance with Caleb and then with Mum and Dad.
“She was so happy. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was incredible, better than any movie. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. One final, beautiful, beautiful memory of Nat.”
Natalie lost her battle with cervical cancer, surrounded by friends and family in early September, a month after marrying Caleb in their living room.” (You can read the full story here).
We don’t realise how lucky we are to have a health system and support services here in Australia that provide free bi-annual reminders for check-ups, and can treat and respond to first signs of the HPV virus and developing cancer cells.
Most of us also don’t realise that every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies of cervical cancer. In fact, cervical cancer is more than 10 times more common in countries without cervical cancer screening programs than in Australia. Cervical cancer can be effectively treated when it is found early. Most women with early cervical cancer will be cured.
The Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF), is a young charity with a big vision: to eliminate cervical cancer. ACCF works to protect and enhance women’s health in Australia and in developing countries. Check out their work here.
We’re so proud to be working with ACCF this month as their official Wellness Ambassadors, spreading the word on their crucial work and encouraging others to take up the challenge to help win the fight against cervical cancer.
SO. WHAT’S THE TECH-NO CHALLENGE…?
Give up your technology for 12, 24, or 48 hours and help countries that struggle to access basic health needs (most of which are even cheaper than a mobile plan).
The Tech-No Challenge takes place this weekend on the 19th and 20th of September, but challengers are welcome to pick their own date during the month of September if the chosen weekend doesn’t suit.
The money you raise by turning off your screen provides women in developing countries the chance to get screened for cervical cancer. Despite being mostly preventable, 800 women die from cervical cancer worldwide every single day. That’s one woman every two minutes.
This year you can change that, by taking on the TechNO challenge. It costs ACCF just $5 to screen one woman for cervical cancer in a developing country. Every $5 you raise could save a life. You can start your own page, or make a donation to our Holistic HQ team page here.
Each donation goes towards:
• ACCF will screen one woman in a developing country for cervical cancer. Less than 2% of women receive cervical screening in developing countries.
• ACCF can fully screen and treat a woman for cervical cancer in a developing country. With no access to screening 280,000 women die each year from cervical cancer.
• Vaccinate one girl in a developing country against HPV, the virus which causes cervical cancer. Here in Australia, we receive this vaccine for free.
• Pay for the running costs of the ACCF‘s Banepa Women’s Clinic for 2 weeks. This Clinic is a hub for women’s health resources and training of nurses and vaccinators in this region.
Thank you endlessly for your support. ❤