Memorial Lecture urges women to talk about cancer

Published: 7 December 2005 at 13:36

Lifestyle and fitness expert Diana Moran, known as the Eighties TV fitness guru the Green Goddess, has spoken at the Claire Harding Memorial Lecture held recently at Anglia Ruskin's Michael A Ashcroft Building in Chelmsford.

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This was the second memorial lecture staged by the Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity in memory of Ongar resident Claire who was a charity volunteer who died of breast cancer in August 2002.

Diana, who had a double mastectomy 17 years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, urged women not to go it alone and to talk about their illness. She spoke of her journey with cancer at the lecture, and helped to launch the charity's Heal Breast Cancer Support Group. She was joined during the presentation by Dr Louise Alldridge, who works for the charity at its research lab at Anglia Ruskin, and told of the lab's work looking into breast tumours and why some respond to certain chemotherapy drugs.

When Diana was first diagnosed she confessed that at the time she felt she had to keep her illness a secret:

"I felt a failure. No one in my family had had cancer. I felt I couldn't be open about my illness. If the press found out they might just write me off. I made my living through being fit."

After her mastectomy she published her autobiography which brought breast cancer out into the open when people had not been talking about it. 

She further advised:

"Cancer, whatever it is makes you stronger. My advice to anyone who has it is to get back in control by asking questions."

Gráinne James, chief executive, of the Helen Rollason Charity said:

"Claire was such a vibrant young woman and a great volunteer for the charity. It is a privilege to hold a lecture in her name."

The Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity offers therapeutic support and development such as counselling and complementary therapies to men, women and their supporters following a cancer diagnosis.

The charity was named after Helen Rollason MBE, the BBC sports journalist who died of cancer in 1999. She shared the vision of her oncologist, Professor Neville Davidson, that people should be treated as a whole and not just their illness. In her desire to help him, Helen gave her name and image to help attract national and international support. 

Before she died she said:

"Good quality of life whilst coping with cancer is the most important gift a sick person can receive, it should be available to everyone."

The Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity Breast Cancer Support Group next meets on 18 January 2006 at the charity's cancer centre, Rochelle House, Springfield, Chelmsford. For more details contact Rochelle House on 01245 513350 or log on to www.helenrollason.org.uk.