Lindsey launches petition in sister Stacey's memory calling for national taskforce on breast cancer

A mother-of-three who lost her sister to breast cancer has launched a petition calling on the Government to set up a national taskforce to identify effective cures and treatments.

Stacey Chilcott died in January 2020, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer
Stacey Chilcott died in January 2020, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer

Lindsey Flynn's sister, Stacey Chilcott, who grew up in the Black Country and was a mother of three young children aged just four, three and two, died in January last year.

Stacey grew up in Willenhall, and attended Deansfield High School in Wolverhampton, before studying at Aston University and going on to work as a leading public health scientist.

Lindsey, 39, has now begun collecting signatures on the Petition Parliament website – with more than 770 signatures so far. If the total hits 10,000 the Government will have to issue a response, while if the number of signatures reaches 100,000 it will be considered for a debate in Parliament.

She said she wanted to spark a national debate about the provision of breast cancer services after the death of her sister.

Lindsey Flynn has launched a petition calling for a national taskforce to identify effective cures and treatments for breast cancer

Lindsey said: "In an awful twist of irony, Stacey had achieved a PHD in cancer research whilst studying at Aston University and then later moved into a career with Public Health England.

“It was one year after the birth of her third child she noticed a lump and immediately went to get it checked out at the doctors. She was given the crushing news that she had Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and at this stage kicked all her science knowledge into gear, researching what were the potential treatment options.

“Her husband, Rob, who is also a leading scientist, supported every step of the way, reading every single research paper on the subject. After an intensive schedule of chemotherapy, operation and radiation, Stacey thought that life was returning to some semblance of normality.

“However, in August 2019 she was given the crushing news that she had Stage 4 Cancer and it had spread to her lungs. At this point again Stacey and her husband kicked in their research skills but were crushed to find there were very few effective treatment options available.

“They read every single paper, contacted every single potential open trial, but there were so few and with aggressive cancer, every week wasted is critical. Stacey came to the realisation she was going to die because there were no more available treatment options.”

Stacey died on January 28, 2020, just two days before her daughter's fifth birthday – the celebrations which she had organised in her final weeks.

Her youngest sister Lindsey watched all of it happen – and while the family pulled together, they had to stand by and watch as Stacey accepted she would die because there were no treatment options left to try.

Lindsey, who is chief executive officer of Wolverhampton-based skills company WELL Training and now lives in Staffordshire, added: "All we could do was surround Stacey with our love and be there to support her as much as possible.

"We are now determined that we as a society should not just accept that this cannot change.

"The drive to find vaccines for Covid showed what amazing strides can be taken when there is the political willpower and resources put in to achieve a public health goal. With breast cancer now the leading cause of death for women aged under 50 there will be hundreds of thousands of families like ours who have been affected.

“Through this petition we hope to spark a public debate about the provision. It has been tremendous to see such a response on social media and from the swift number of sign-ups, which we hope to build on by accumulating more support.

"We know how much pain we as a family have been through losing Stacey, we are fighting for a day when no one else has to lose their Stacey.”

The petition page states: "Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women under 50 with 11,500 women dying every year in the UK. We want a National Taskforce approach similar to that taken to identify a vaccine for Covid, to be used to develop effective cures and treatment for breast cancer.

“The Government highlights its support for women, yet breast cancer remains an area where the approach to developing cures and treatment is fragmented and significantly under-funded.

“We want a new Government-backed Breast Cancer Taskforce established to drive additional investment and better collaboration with partners, to find cures and more effective treatment options for the many women who are diagnosed and suffer with this disease.”

To view the petition, visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/580375

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