Cancer survivor and Mum of two Carol Murray, from Midleton, marched from Patrick’s Street to City Hall on Saturday to highlight the Cervical Check scandal and the devastating effect it had on affected families.
Carol, aged 33, who marked seven years cancer free last month, found out in May this year that a smear taken in 2010 had been read incorrectly. That smear should have been followed up immediately.
Instead, she was told to come back in six months for another smear. But there is no record of the second test she undertook.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2011 — more than 12 months after the initial smear test should have rung alarm bells.
More than 100 people joined Carol on her march which went from Patrick Street, near Merchant’s Quay, onto the Grand Parade, South Mall and onto Cork City Hall, where there were speeches and poetry.
Carol dressed in a white all in one suit to symbolise the cover-up she felt the affected women and their families had to endure.
Carol marked being cancer free for seven years last month, but due to the events of the past year, it should have been a happier moment.
She said she is so grateful to still be here, unlike some women whose families are facing into Christmas without their loved ones. She counts herself lucky every day, but to know women lost their lives needlessly means she is unable to ‘celebrate’ being cancer free.
Carol also said now, seven years on, when she feels unwell, it sends her into panic mode as her trust in the health system has been shattered.
“The trust is gone. I am delighted to reach seven years, it is seven years longer, it is a good milestone.
“I am very lucky as it had reached stage 3 and it had spread to areas they could not reach. If it had been a couple of weeks later, it is a scary thought. The ‘what ifs’ are always there.” She said her march was to highlight the ‘cover-up’, but also the lack of information that is still forthcoming.
She is also unhappy as to how information is being shared with those affected. She cites returning home from holidays to the Scally Report leaks in the media.
She added that there are also ongoing issues around families trying to gain access to slides, to get them independently reviewed.