Personally it has been challenging for me in my own way, beginning with going into lockdown for almost 8 weeks earlier in the year due to an almost non existent immune system and the serious threat of Covid-19.
Being a primary teacher, and somebody who thrives on social interaction, I found this very difficult.
In June, I tragically lost my oldest, and one of my very best friends. Dr Alexandra Jane Tapp died from an accidental drug overdose after suffering most of her life in silence due to different forms of sexual abuse as a child and young woman from two known and trusted men.
You can hear more of Alex’s story on my podcast, Conversations for Ally, which can be found on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Alternatively you can read Virginia Tapscott’s (Alex’s sister) piece which was the front page of The Australian newspaper in September 2020 by clicking the link.
In August I discovered that after almost two years of battling very high grade pre cancer cells and having all procedures available as an attempt to remove them, nothing had been successful. In September, and by all results, at the eleventh hour, I had a hysterectomy at 34 years of age.
The only way these cells were found was through having my regular pap smears. I had no other symptoms at all and it is with this experience, and after coming so close to having a very different story, I urge all women to have their important health checks, particularly if you are overdue.
I also struggle with a mystery autoimmune disease that closely resembles rheumatoid arthritis. Prednisone (steroids, and currently the lowest dose I’ve been on), a good diet and swimming is what helps me to walk and function as well as I can. I haven’t been able to swim much this year after our local pool closed due to Covid, then I’ve had two surgeries which has kept me out of the pool for another good ten weeks.
I have been given the all clear to get back in the pool so I thought, as the year comes to a close, I’d personally love to finish on a big positive.
I’d love to raise money and awareness for Our Watch and the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation.
Our Watch is a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia. Our Watch is the chosen organisation by Alex’s family, in her memory.
I will give 50% of funds raised to Our Watch, and 50% to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation who provide prevention, treatment and support information in Australia and third world countries for women affected by cervical cancer.
In doing this, in the month of November, I pledge to swim at least 25km in memory of Dr Alexandra Jane Tapp, tracking my kms by wearing her watch that her mum gifted me after she passed away (in the photo) and to:
- raise awareness around the very real problem of sexual abuse in children and young women in Australia;
- encourage parents to have important conversations with their children;
- encourage people to be kind to everybody they encounter;
- encourage women to keep on top of their important health checks;
- and raise awareness around the silent killer that is Cervical Cancer.
Any change that you can spare to go towards these two worthy causes will be gratefully received, and if you could please share with your friends, that would be even better!
Love Ebonnie X
- Michele Wilson
- Jemma Greig
- Hannah Wardle
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