LAD Fights To Lower Cervical Cancer Screening Age After Sister Tragically Died
Life is often incredibly difficult. Things happen that take us completely by shock and many of us struggle with how to cope. This is especially apparent when someone we love is faced with an unexpected health condition. It rocks you to your core and, if the worst happens and you lose that person, you may not know how to carry on.
However, in every difficult situation there is a way to find some positives. Josh Cliff, 27, from Sunderland, tragically lost his sister to cervical cancer on January 8 this year. She was just 25.
He is now fighting to lower the cervical cancer screening age to 18 for high-risk groups and has so far managed to collect over 330,000 signatures, as well as raising over £15,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
He has named the initiative 'Amber's Law'. The mission is to ensure that: 'Any woman under the age of 25 who is not eligible for cervical cancer screening, who goes to the doctors with any kind of problems in their lower half on two occasions, will have the option to have screening'.
Amber went to the doctors over ten times over a few years to flag up issues, but was turned away. Josh told LADbible: "She was always just fobbed off and told she had water infections, was her pill, hormone imbalances etc."
In the end, the family paid for Amber to get a private smear around four years ago just so that they could rule it out. Sadly, the results came back as positive for cervical cancer.
He continued: "She felt so let down when she was finally diagnosed, we still feel let down as we have lost Amber because someone didn't do further checks on someone asking for help."
The cancer had been there for up to four years at the time of her diagnosis and sadly spread to her lungs and throat.
"We were just all heart broken, after being told by the doctors for years it can't be that we were all just totally destroyed," Josh added, "It's a feeling that you can't describe unless you have been there."
In the four years after the diagnosis, Amber had several operations to try and remove the cancer. Sadly, it didn't work. One of the operations left her unable to have children.
Josh explained: "Even though all of this went on, Amber still graduated from university, got a great job (which she would go to even during treatment), went on numerous holidays and really enjoyed and lived her life."
So what is Josh doing now? Well, the day Amber died, someone else actually set up a petition for the age to be lowered for everyone. It had 79 signatures. He said: "I re-worded it to make it clear I wanted to make the smear available (and not mandatory) for anyone who had symptoms. I took it over and have now got over 333,000 signatures backing Amber's Law."
He's also helped raise over £15,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust and has encouraged lots of women to get their smear tests.
When asked what Amber would think of everything he's doing, he said: "She would kill me as she hated attention! She went through all her cancer not telling anyone about it. But I know she would love it that she's saving other people going through this and I really hope she would be proud."
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