Lauren’s Story

I will never forget the day when I received a text from my very close friend Vicki to tell me she had the ‘C’ word. A range of emotions came over me including: anger, sadness, shock and fear of the unknown – just to name a few. That night when she cried in my arms till the wee hours of the morning, all I could say was “you’re a fighter Vic, you’ve got this” – unfortunately, this time it simply was not going to be enough.

Vicki was a year and a half overdue for her Pap. She believed the warning signs were simply just menopause, which is associated with being in your early 50’s. After a full hysterectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, Vicki lost her battle with cervical cancer on 6th October 2013. As distressed as I was at the time, when she took her last breath, I squeezed and kissed her hand, relieved she was set free from this horrible disease – a disease which you and I can help prevent.

Losing Vicki has changed my life in a lot of ways. Although I try to always take a positive from a negative, it can be extremely difficult at times. Grieving is a long process and I’m not sure if that will ever slow down or stop. When I realise she won’t be there to watch me walk down the aisle, be there to celebrate another birthday, or reply to another text message – reality reminds me that all these things I took for granted will never eventuate.

This is why I decided to celebrate Vicki’s life and simultaneously raise awareness for cervical cancer. We have raised almost $20k in the last year to support ACCFs incredible work and have held events to raise awareness so that eventually, no woman will have to endure what Vicki did and no family will have to watch their loved ones suffer.

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

GET YOUR PAP! Be in tune with your body and learn to recognise any abnormalities or changes. Let’s eliminate the stigma of going for a Pap test, openly talk about it with the women in your life and treat yourself to something special after your check up!