March 4 is World HPV Awareness Day. Head and neck cancer patients and carers are probably more aware than many about the importance of the HPV vaccine. It beggars belief that people would shy away from a vaccine that prevents six cancers and means that an individual would not need to go through the harsh chemoradiation experienced by about half of our members. 

On our website under Useful Links is a HPV booklet put out by Australia but relevant to both countries.

One of our members is also a doctor and the link here is to a Q & A about HPV-related head and neck cancer. 

By our members I mean members of the private Facebook Group linked to our charity which now has about 730 members. Of course we are here for people who are not on Facebook too with our trustee, Toni Davis,  sending patients packs, blenders and dental products around the country as well as the brochures made by another trustee, Nicky MacDonald. We have also funded 10 HNC patients through the Pinc and Steel rehab programme.

We want to give thanks to Mary Pringle for being our treasurer for nearly two years. While she is stepping down from the board on March 31, Mary will continue to do our books on Xero and make cards for our patient packs. This is a huge contribution.

What is going on in the Facebook forum? As usual members are looking for support as they get diagnosed, often with an advanced throat cancer. Many of the people posting are carers who want to know how they can help their loved ones. One wife supported her husband by making herself a different mask each week representing movie characters as this picture of the Avatar mask shows. 

And from another support person, son Peter Jansen, here is his Round the Bays link. Peter is raising money for us and has supported me through all my head and neck cancers since 2009.

Maureen