Kath established GAIN Inc in Perth, Western Australia, in February 2001, when she sought a support network for women who had endured the similar trauma of a gynaecological cancer, and found none.
Many women afflicted with gynaecological conditions feel alienated and isolated. They often suffer in silence, afraid of what they don’t know, and lack the courage to share their anguish.
Whilst she received adequate support from healthcare professionals, and family members, Kath still felt a dire need to be able to share her experience with other women; to know she was not alone in her suffering and healing.
“Prevention is better than cure. Most women self-examine their breasts regularly, knowing that early detection of breast cancer can be a life saver. Most women don’t realise that their vulva is, also, at risk of cancer” Kathleen explains.
Kath was 39 years old when she was told her Pap smear showed abnormal changes in the cells on her cervix, and she would need laser treatment. The appearance of a lump in the region, eighteen months later, was not flagged by her doctor as anything to worry about, and after another eighteen months of consultation with two other GP’s, and two gynaecologists, Kath was finally diagnosed with vulval cancer.
To save her life Kath underwent life altering surgery, in an area of her body all women regard as sacred. Whilst receiving adequate support from healthcare professionals, and family, Kath realised she still had a dire need to be able to share her experience with other women, including knowing that she was not alone in her suffering and healing.
In her search to find other women to talk to about her experience, Kath found none. So she placed an advert in a women’s magazine and received 38 replies, all from women who had waited a long time to share their experiences, and who were similarly grateful to have the opportunity to break their own silence.
From a position of experience, and compassion, Kath created GAIN in response to the needs of these women. Today, a vibrant cancer survivor, she continues to lobby for more awareness, funding and research for gynaecological cancers, pre-cancers and other gynaecological disorders.
Kath is also actively involved in the community working and creating awareness on gynaecological cancers.
Overall Senior of the Year 2012
Inductee Womens Hall of Fame Perth WA
Order of Australia
Our Bodies Ourselves Womens Health Hero Inductee USA
Momentum Womens Forum Inspirational Women
Centre for Women in Leadership 09 (short listed category)
Zonta Intern. Perth
Executive Womens Forum
1 in 100 City of Perth Champion 2007