A MOTHER-OF-FIVE from the High Peak who is battling ovarian cancer is continuing her tireless campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
Eilish Colclough, who was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer five years ago, has been a passionate campaigner with the UK charity Target Ovarian Cancer to push the disease, often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, up the political and health agenda, and the need for greater symptoms awareness by women and health professionals.
Over the course of a busy 12 months, the 44-year-old, of Oaklea, Buxton, has spoken at events in Westminster, attended the launch of a new research campaign at the House of Lords, addressed fellow ovarian cancer sufferers and rubbed shoulders with top celebrities.
All this alongside undergoing chemotherapy during her own personal battle against the disease.
Eilish, speaking during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month which runs throughout March, said: “It’s been a real roller coaster ride, but I see the campaign as something positive.
“Some things I have had to say no to, either because I’ve been having treatment or because I haven’t been well enough, but for me, it is just so important to do. And what’s really good is I have managed to inspire more people with ovarian cancer to get on board and raise awareness.”
The outspoken campaigner has been instrumental in helping Target Ovarian Cancer launch its parliamentary campaigns ‘Six Simple Steps’ and ‘Let’s Talk Ovarian Cancer’, giving speeches and quizzing MPs, and these have led to the establishment of an All Party Group on Ovarian Cancer. Eilish was even mentioned during a Westminster Hall debate last year over the lack of awareness of symptoms of ovarian cancer.
She said: “The whole aim of the parliamentary campaigns is to push for a national awareness campaign, and I think it’s getting there. We are certainly a lot nearer than we were three years ago.”
Also during the past 12 months, Eilish attended a ‘Let’s Talk’ awareness day in Manchester and talked about her encounter with ovarian cancer in a bid to help other women learn about symptoms. She described this as a “humbling experience”. Eilish and her eldest daughter Emma have also contributed to a new support guide ‘Back Here Again’ for sufferers of the disease.
And in January, Eilish attended a reception at the House of Lords for the launch of Target Ovarian Cancer’s new medical research programme, a unique UK-wide funding scheme specifically targeted at accelerating the progress of ovarian cancer research.
This weekend, she is due to return to the Rose Theatre in Kingston to make an on-stage fundraising appeal at the Loving Linda comedy event, to raise money for the Loving Linda Fund in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer. The event is held in memory of comedian Linda Smith, who died of ovarian cancer in 2006.
Anyone wishing to give £5 to the Loving Linda fund can text LIND11 £5 to 70070.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer symptoms are frequent (more than 12 times a month) and persistent.
* Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain
* Increased abdominal size or bloating
* Difficulty eating, or feeling full
* Urinary symptoms (the need to wee more urgently or more frequently)
For more information, visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk