Clitheroe cervical cancer campaigner is London 2012 Olympic torch bearer

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A FORMER Ribblesdale High School Technology College pupil will be an Olympic torchbearer in recognition of her charity work to raise awareness of cervical cancer in young women.

Rosie Hollis was only 24 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2009 – seven months before she was automatically entitled to an NHS smear test to check for the disease.

“Our national screening programme does not start until ladies are 25,” explained Rosie, who lived in Clitheroe until three years ago. “So after battling that, and my surgeons fighting to be able to give me operations that could possibly save my fertility, we got rid of all of my cancerous cells and the tumour itself.”

From there on in, Rosie decided there wasn’t enough information about cervical cancer in younger women, so she got in touch with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. At this point she also discovered too many women over 25 were not attending their invited screening appointments and began running information days at hospitals as well as sending information to surgeries and hospitals which didn’t have any. This included erecting posters informing people about the Trust’s work and advertising its help line.

“Then I did some work with my MP Jake Berry and, together with our local PCT, we have made a video to be shown to cervical sample takers to show them how not taking a smear correctly or turning away someone who is presenting symptoms even though they may not be over the age of 25,” Rosie added. “We also made a film that will be shown to older school/sixth form age girls, whom have more than likely had the vaccination, but telling them not to be complacent and they must still attend screening when invited. I also attended a meeting of nurses and GPs where I was asked to stand up and tell my story, and they all left knowing the power is in their hands!”

Rosie, who has many relatives living in Clitheroe, will also run the Race for Life again this year and is planning a Jubilee Olympics-style tea party at The Eagle and Child in Ramsbottom where she works.

Cancer Research UK, Macmillan, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and the Eve Appeal are some of the charities Rosie is involved in. Keen to continue to raise awareness and a committed fund-raiser, Rosie has even persuaded local boxer Danny Ridgeway to wear a Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust T-shirt in the ring!