Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A very positive take on positive smears

As regular readers of my work will know, I'm a great supporter of cervical cancer issues. So at the end of last week I unhesitatingly trotted along to a charity gala run by Jo's Trust, the cervical cancer charity.

Now, in general, gala dinners per se can leave me cold; the business versions in particular can be stuffed full of cold fish of all kinds. Charity galas are always much better - full of good people willing to put their money where their mouths are.

But I have to say that the Jo's Trust gala took the biscuit for most fun event of the year if not the millenium-so-far. For a start, the guests were sparky - I sat next to (and tangoed with) one of the male contestants in this year's Strictly Come Dancing, while on my other side was a fascinating up and coming fashion designer. (I don't usually get overwhelmed by celeb-ness, but these people were genuinely nice.)

The entertainment too was sparky - some acrobats doing their stuff suspended from the ceiling, a troope of smiley carnival dancers, and a belting rock and roll singer. Touching too, especially consdering the gala focus, was the stunningly talented Capital Girls Choir - for we all realised that these were the women of the future, for whose cervical health we were raising money.

Most moving, however, was the after-dinner speech. Yes, I did say the after-dinner speech. Given by Jo's Trust organiser Pamela Morton, it literally brought tears to most people's eyes - including her own - as she talked about Jo's Trust women who were struggling with the disease, those who had won and those who, in the past year, had lost their fight.

Best of all, though, was the final point of Pamela's speech - where she described how only this week, the government has licensed for use with teenage girls the wonderful "cervical cancer vaccine" which protects against the HPV virus that triggers the cancer.

By attending and donating at the dinner we were, as Pamela pointed out, not only actively fighting fight for cervical health. Just as importantly, we were celebrating the most important breakthrough ever in that very fight.

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