AT a time when most people might choose to retreat, Jill Emberson refused to surrender.
Despite being "incredibly sick" with a terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis, the journalist and radio personality began building an army of advocates that could continue fighting for fairer funding long after after she lost her battle with the disease in December, 2019.
Now, on Teal Ribbon Day, Ms Emberson has been posthumously honoured with the 2021 Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award in acknowledgement of her passionate advocacy for ovarian cancer awareness.
"Her efforts were gargantuan," her husband, Dr Ken Lambert, told the Newcastle Herald. "It was incredible, the energy she gave, particularly when I knew how sick she was. She was incredibly sick, she was in extreme pain, she had multiple complications, but she was still there, beating the drum for ovarian cancer. She was organising, she was advocating, she was approaching the Minister for Health.
"Even in the hospice, three days before she died, she dictated a letter to Greg Hunt."
Ms Emberson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016, and in 2018 she created "Still Jill" - a podcast that documented her cancer experience.
She successfully helped lobby the federal government for $20 million for ovarian cancer research.
The 2019 Newcastle Citizen of the Year also founded "Pink Meets Teal" - a community of women who want to see the five-year survival rate of just 46 per cent for ovarian cancer reach the 91 per cent survival rate for breast cancer.
Professor Karen Canfell, a cancer researcher, also received a 2021 Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia award.
Established in 2013, the award is named in honour of the late Jeannie Ferris, a former Senator for South Australia who was passionately committed to raising awareness about gynaecological cancer in Australia.
Senator Ferris was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2005 and died in April, 2007.
"I think Jeannie was part of Jill's inspiration to continue on that strong advocacy," Dr Lambert said. "Jill realised she had a terminal illness and she really wanted to shift the ground for ovarian cancer. She wanted better results and better outcomes.
"She had this incredible fire in the belly."
Professor Dorothy Keefe, the chief executive of Cancer Australia, said it was estimated about 6,500 women would be diagnosed with gynaecological cancer in Australia - 9.5 per cent of all new female cancers.
"Our 2021 recipients of the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award embody passion, courage, determination and intelligence," she said.
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