A PASSIONATE Dot Cherry is the woman who ensures Ballarat Town Hall turns teal each February.
Dot is determined to remain vocal in raising awareness on a silent killer. Dot and her friends in Giving Gold for Lou want to put a spotlight on ovarian cancer. They do so in the name of Lou Quinn, who died almost three years ago from ovarian cancer. Lou was 33 years old and the daughter of their good friend Maggie.
“Carers, survivors, parents and friends – everyone has a different story,” Dot said. “Ovarian cancer needs more attention. We need people behind us, the media telling our stories, promoting teal...we need more education.”
Dot and fellow ovarian cancer awareness advocate Christine Christy were special guests of Ballarat MP Catherine King, the opposition health spokeswoman, for Labor’s funding pledge to ovarian cancer research and detection – $8 million over four years.
This was an issue Dot wants to remain high on the federal agenda.
Lou Quinn was a Ballarat woman, commuting to Melbourne for work, who felt tired and had a few days of bad stomach pains. She died 13 days after diagnosis.
Dot said too many women thought regular pap smears were enough. She urged women to visit their general practitioner and be persistent, if they had any concerns.
About 1500 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and 1000 will die.
Ms King said the death of her close friend Betty Leahy revealed the inadequate attention on ovarian cancer.
“It literally is the silent killer and often, when symptoms are severe the cancer is already at an advanced stage,” Ms King told The Courier. “In the long term, I’d like to develop an early screening kit. From many GPs now, they might see only one case in their lifetime and we need to make sure they are certain to detect it.”
Liberal candidate for Ballarat Sarah Wade said the Federal Government had channeled $12.5 million into National Heath and Medical Council’s ovarian cancer projects the past three years, plus significant funding into treatment drug Avastin.
“We need to keep people talking about ovarian cancer more, so women are more aware,” Ms Wade said. “We need to keep up awareness and really promote Teal Day each year but so people are aware all year round.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.