Ellie’s Tribe was founded by me – Ellie Taylor in 2019. I’m a wife to Tom and mum of two beautiful girls, I live in Berkshire, UK.
I was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in the December of 2017, after a clear smear test in 2014. I was initially staged at 1b1 and had a radical hysterectomy to remove the cancer and pelvic lymph nodes. Overall the operation seemed to be a huge success, my lymph nodes tested negative for cancerous cells as did all the tissue they removed – aside from the almost 3cm tumour on my cervix.
Sadly, it wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped and less than two months later it had returned in force having returned in my groin and also spread to my stomach. I was told the gut wrenching news that my cancer was incurable in June 2018.
After seven gruelling rounds of chemotherapy I received the amazing news that I have somehow managed to get myself to be in remission. To try and secure my remission I then underwent 25 sessions of radiotherapy, with the hope that I will remain in remission for as long as possible.
Ever since my diagnosis I have struggled with a feeling of anger at the system. You see, I attended my smear test I did everything I was supposed to, in order to protect myself from getting cancer. Yet, there I was, with cancer. I’d had two children and I’d only seen a gynaecologist once. The only time I had seen a gynaecologist was the day I was diagnosed with cancer. I felt so let down. Our three year system is based on numbers, a catch em in a net scenario. But it’s not a catch them all, it’s a catch enough situation, leaving women like me to fall through the net. I decided early on in my illness that I would fight the system for something better that this.
I am campaigning for yearly gynaecological checkups because all through my journey I have heard stories of women who have been ignored, palmed off and sent away with contraceptives when really what they needed was a gynaecologist appointment to deal with the complex issues with their reproductive organs and genitalia that they were facing. Because smear tests and HPV tests should be yearly occurrence to minimise the risk of HPV caused cervical cancer – and lets remember: 99.7% of cervical cancer is caused by HPV.
I decided long ago that until I can make sure it’s provided on the national health that I would work toward starting my own charitable foundation that would provide women in need with access to gynaecological healthcare and instance access to mental health help in the face of difficult diagnosis. So Ellie’s Tribe may begin as an online campaign platform, but I’m going to work toward blowing it up into something way bigger that can do much bigger work and hopefully save some lives along the way.