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Eyes, Ovaries, Diamonds

Soroptimists from all over South Lancashire Region joined members of the Widnes club for their annual speaker event.

First on the ‘Zoom’ podium was Gwyneth Millard from Wigan Rotary Club. She explained about Rotary International’s own project ‘Global Sight Solutions’. This addresses the plight of millions of people who suffer from ‘avoidable blindness’. The geographical focus of the work is India, with plans in hand for expansion.

Run as a charity through partnerships between Rotary clubs and the communities ‘on the ground’, it offers free eyecare. People with cataracts and glaucoma, for example, receive appropriate high quality treatment locally. These local facilities are ‘seeded’ through the Rotary network but are managed within the community.

The second speaker, Siobhan Ferguson, is a trustee of the ‘Dianne Oxberry Trust’. This charity exists to raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms. The message is aimed at women across north-west England in the most at-risk group.

Formed only in 2019, the trust is named in memory of Dianne Oxberry, the respected broadcaster who died suddenly of ovarian cancer. The aim is to help women spot the symptoms so they can inform their GPs as early as possible. The trust is also raising awareness of the symptoms among the north-west’s GPs to help avoid losing precious time through misdiagnosis. A late diagnosis is – so often – too late.

Third ‘off the blocks’ was Sam Lewis, founder of the charity ‘Sam’s Diamonds’.  Formed out of her personal experiences, the charity provides a support service for women 18+ in north-west England as they progress through any cancer journey.

Sam and her team aim to provide activities that increase self-esteem, confidence and motivation. Through regular social activities they enable friendships to be made and mentorship to develop. They are ‘helping women to keep their sparkle during cancer treatment’.

Region President Josie Carter said: “I must congratulate Yvonne Gibbon and her fellow Widnes Soroptimists for organising such a fascinating and informative evening. I am delighted that so many members from across the Region were able to listen to this excellent trio of speakers.”