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Geelong world champion and paralympian Kelly Cartwright has led a mission to Canberra to give a voice to the voiceless.
Cartwright was in the Australian capital this week as the newly appointed ambassador for Rare Cancers Australia (RCA).
Her role was to meet politicians and advocate for change in the treatment of rare cancers.
She attended RCA’s annual conference at Parliament House to help launch Rare Solutions: A Time To Act, the RCA’s special report with the aim of improving the outlook for 52,000 Australians diagnosed with a rare or uncommon cancer each year.
The report was a first-of-its-kind, paving the way for government, industry and the research community to unite on improving the treatment of rare cancer patients.
RCA estimated that 25,000 people died annually from rare cancers, with survival rates improving only marginally over the past 20 years. Survival rates for more common cancers had improved dramatically during the same period, RCA said.
Cartwright knows first-hand the impact of rare cancers after her diagnosis at the age of 15 with an uncommon but aggressive form of cancer in her right knee.
The disease forced the amputatation of her right leg to give Cartwright the best chance of survival.
Her brilliant career as an athlete has since included silver and gold medals in the 2012 London Paralympics along with records at several world championships.
“People think you get cancer and then you get treatment, but that is not always the case,” Cartwright said, “so I want to raise awareness that not all cancers are equal in that sense.
“I’m one of the lucky ones, but I want to speak out for all those other people who are out there, the forgotten ones.”

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