Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day? No matter what you call it, or how you celebrate it, ultimately it is synonymous with one thing – a time to remember the selfless love of our mothers and the sacrifices they have made to secure our futures. From wholesome home cooking, ‘taxi’-services to and from an infinite number of sporting/music practices, to caring for us when we’re sick, mums perform a multitude of tasks without ever gaining anything like the appropriate thanks they deserve.
But they are loved, and the reality is that no other woman in the world will do more for us. The cards and flowers barely balance the debt of gratitude they deserve. There simply isn’t a way to express the gratitude we have for the indefatigable support they provide us.
In fact, it’s because of three children’s love for their mother that we are here today. The Anal Cancer Foundation was founded following the death of Paulette Crowther in 2010. Paulette’s three children and primary caregivers, Justine, Tristan and Camille Almada, were inspired by their mother’s incredible spirit to understand how they could prevent HPV from ending someone’s life early again.
We lost Paulette because of limited advancement in preventing and treating anal cancer and HPV-related diseases, but through the Anal Cancer Foundation we want give other patients and families the guidance, information, and most importantly the opportunity to save a loved one’s life that was not extended to us.
It often falls on mothers to attend to the health and wellbeing of their children. But we need parents, both female and male, to take a stand on the important health issue of protecting their daughters and sons against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The UK vaccination programme currently only covers the routine vaccine of girls in schools, but by including boys in this programme we have a chance to protect children equally at risk of contracting 5% of cancers and can alleviate the immense suffering that comes from the burden of these diseases.
HPV affects 80% of the population at some point in their lifetime, and whilst the majority of those infected by the virus will not experience any serious health issues, some will contract cervical, vulval, vaginal, penile, anal, or head and neck cancer, as well as genital warts. By vaccinating all boys age 12/13 we can significantly reduce the risk of developing diseases across both sexes that derive from HPV-related cancers.
A parent’s choice of protection should not be limited purely to their daughters. It is quite simply unequitable that boys are not protected under this vaccination programme. A gender neutral issue requires a gender neutral vaccination.
And so we ask for your help as parents to take a stand with us and work together to extend the UK HPV vaccination programme to include boys.
But what can you do?
- Sign our Change.org petition here to introduce HPV vaccination for boys to stop many preventable cancers
- Speak to your GP as a parent about vaccinating both your male and female and children against HPV. For boys this is currently only available privately
- Encourage your paediatrician or general practitioner to join the growing coalition of doctors and scientists that support gender-neutral vaccination
- Write to your local MP asking for his/her support. You can find their contact details via http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/. We can provide you with the key tips and points to include.
- Share your support across social media using the #mumsforsons and #dadsforlads hashtags.
The Foundation wishes you all an enjoyable Mothering Sunday with your families.