Vale Bridget Whelan – Ovarian Cancer Advocate

Image Source: Youtube

Bridget Whelan was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2010.  Bridget’s story is one that has touched the hearts of many people.

After her diagnosis, she worked hard to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer and worked with many Cancer Awareness organisations.  In 2015, she was awarded the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award. Professor Zorbas, CEO Cancer Australia, when announcing the award said:

“Prior to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, Ms Bridget Whelan was a qualified lawyer and senior adviser to several State and Federal Government Ministers.  Following her diagnosis, Ms Whelan used her considerable professional skills in her volunteer work as a consumer advocate, ensuring that the consumer experience informs cancer research, information, policy and care.

Ms Whelan’s commitment to improving outcomes for women with ovarian cancer is also evident in her extensive and diverse work for a number of organisations, throughout her treatment and recovery cycles.  These include: Ovarian Cancer Australia; the Australia and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group; Cancer Voices; and Cancer Institute NSW.  Ms Whelan has also provided consumer input into research programs for Calvary Hospital, University of New South Wales, Garvan Institute, Westmead Hospital and the Peter MacCallam Cancer Centre.

“Ms Whelan is an intelligent, determined and indefatigable advocate for those affected by ovarian and other cancers.  Ms Whelan’s commitment and contribution reflect the spirit and essence of the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award.”

Ovarian cancer advocate, Bridget Whelan, being presented with the 2015 'Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award' with ANZGOG's Director of Research, Professor Michael Friedlander. Image Source: ANZGOG
Ovarian cancer awareness advocate, Bridget Whelan, being presented with the 2015 ‘Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award’ with ANZGOG’s Director of Research, Professor Michael Friedlander.
Image Source: ANZGOG

Bridget is the daughter of former NSW Police Minister Paul Whelan and in September last year, the Daily Telegraph published a moving interview with Paul and Bridget Whelan. They told their story to the Daily Telegraph in the hope of educating families, and in particular men, that breast, and ovarian cancer is not just a female-to-female passed-on illness. Bridget inherited from her father the BCRA mutation gene which causes ovarian cancer.

Another high profile BRCA mutation gene advocate is Angelina Jolie.   In 2013 and 2015 Angelina underwent procedures to have her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed due to her family history. Her mother, grandmother and aunt died from cancer.

This tribute to Bridget was posted today on the Pink Hope Facebook Page:

We lost a beautiful friend. Bridget spoke at our campaign launch at Kirribilli house and worked along side our organisation (and others) as a powerful and passionate BRCA advocate.

Bridget we will miss you.

A funeral to celebrate Bridget’s life will be held at St. Michael’s Church, Longueville Road, Lane Cove on Monday May 16, 2016 at 2.00pm.  

Due to Bridget’s professional life and her cancer awareness advocacy, it is expected that there may be up to 1000 mourners. It is recommended you avoid parking near St Michaels’s Church tomorrow afternoon.

In lieu of flowers, Bridget has requested donations be made to Ovarian Cancer Alliance for Signal-Seeking Research   Your donations could make an impact on the statistics below:

Ovarian Cancer Stats

The estimated number of cancer deaths in Australia in 2020, for the three main types of gynae cancer.