Ovarian cancer bus launched after worker loses wife to disease

A bus highlighting the symptoms of ovarian cancer has hit the road following campaigning by an employee who lost his wife to the disease.

Lothian Buses has launched an "ovarian cancer bus" highlighting the signs and symptoms of the disease through a partnership with the charity, Target Ovarian Cancer.

It follows campaigning by Lothian Buses engineering worker Colin Barclay, 59, from Edinburgh, who lost his wife Jill to ovarian cancer in January 2017.

Mr Barclay, who has has worked for Lothian for more than 40 years, was recently voted Lothian's Unsung Hero at the company's People Awards by his colleagues, and part of his award was to receive his very own bus to help his campaign to raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms.

Colin Barclay with his daughter Jennifer and son Stuart (Lothian/PA)
Colin Barclay with his daughter Jennifer and son Stuart (Lothian/PA)

The father-of-two said: "Target Ovarian Cancer is helping women across the UK get an early diagnosis, which can be life changing for many.

"My family and I are overwhelmed by the support of my colleagues at Lothian.

"My wife Jill and I spent years campaigning to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and I hope the adverts on this bus will highlight the symptoms and save lives."

Mr Barclay attended the launch on Wednesday with his and Jill's children Jennifer and Stuart.

The signs and symptoms of the disease have been applied to the back and sides of one of Lothian's vehicles, along with Target Ovarian Cancer's contact details, and will be raising awareness across Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian.

The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer are a bloated tummy, always feeling full, tummy pain, and needing to urinate more urgently or more often than usual.

Jim Armstrong, Lothian's engineering director, said: "Colin has worked with us here at Lothian for over 40 years and is a dedicated member of the Engineering team.

"He has worked tirelessly to raise ongoing awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and his strength, determination and loyalty is much admired through the whole business.

"We are honoured to be able to help Colin and his family pay tribute to his late wife Jill's memory and we very much hope that 'Jill's bus' will help promote the fantastic work that Target Ovarian Cancer does."

A Lothian buses vehicle with the new signage highlighting the four symptoms of ovarian cancer (Lothian/PA)
A Lothian buses vehicle with the new signage highlighting the four symptoms of ovarian cancer (Lothian/PA)

Target Ovarian Cancer said that every year 600 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Scotland, and 360 women die from the disease.

It hopes the bus could help raise awareness about the disease, and said that just one in five women are able to name bloating as a major symptom of ovarian cancer and awareness of the other three main symptoms is similarly low.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: "Awareness of ovarian cancer is low, both among women and GPs, with two thirds of women diagnosed once the cancer has already spread.

"Enough is enough. It's time to take over. Together with Lothian, we can make sure women are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

"I am delighted to have their support. Jill Barclay worked tirelessly, in spite of ill health, to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer. I am so grateful to Colin and his family for all they are doing in honour of Jill."

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