This year’s theme is ‘Fearless’ and an estimated 250,000 spectators will fill the streets to watch over 12,500 participants take part in the biggest celebration of the LGBTQI community.
Sixty women, men and children, affected by gynaecological cancer will march in the Mardi Gras parade for Save the Box, raising critical awareness amongst the LGBTQI community and hoping to lift the taboo associated with talking about women’s health ‘down there’.
Every day four women in Australia die from a gynaecological cancer. There are currently no screening tests for gynaecological cancers in Australia except for cervical cancer. There are seven gynaecological cancers and early detection relies on awareness of symptoms.
The Carousel caught up with three women who have all been affected by gynaecological cancer and will be marching proudly for Save the Box on Saturday.
“I was raised by lesbian parents and have been involved in the LGBTQI community from a young age, so marching in Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only am I able to advocate for gay and lesbian rights, but by marching for Save the Box, I can also raise much-needed awareness of ovarian and gynaecological cancers. As someone living with ovarian cancer, it’s a marriage of two things I am extremely passionate about,” says 41-year-old mother Caitlin Delaney, diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2017.
Janet Broady, a 59-year-old midwife at RPA hospital, has been involved with the city’s iconic Mardi Gras parade for 30 years.
“This year my wife, 9-year-old son and I will be marching for Save the Box, raising awareness of gynaecological cancer in support of our two friends who have recently been diagnosed with a gynae cancer.” explains Janet.
“Only four in 10 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive five years after diagnosis. Due to well-funded research, breast cancer has a survival rate of nine in 10. This comparison clearly shows that we need to take action and start talking about ‘the box”.
“We need to raise awareness around all seven gynaecological cancers and raise funds for clinical research to improve the sobering mortality rates,” Janet says.
Since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016, Dr Alisha Thomson from Townsville, QLD, has had a personal life mission to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer and work towards better treatments. Alisha is marching for Save the Box with her two friends, coinciding with her 30th birthday celebrations.
“In July 2016 I started getting abdominal pain and after basic investigations from the GP, they all came back fine. But when I also started experiencing nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss, I knew something wasn’t right,” explains Alisha.
“The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague signs such as abdominal pain and bloating. There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer, so early detection relies on awareness of symptoms.”
If you want to join the celebrations, the parade starts at 7pm AEDT at Hyde Park in Sydney, travelling down Oxford Street and finishing at Moore Park at approximately 11pm AEDT.
If you want to escape the crowds, the parade will also be live streamed from 7pm on SBS On Demand and airs Sunday March 3 at 8.35pm on SBS.