Emily Andrea praises Ashley Cain and Safiyya Vorajee for having ‘hope up until the end’ during Azaylia’s final weeks

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My heart breaks for Azaylia’s parents

My heart broke when I heard the news that Azaylia Cain had passed away following her battle with leukaemia. I can’t even put into words how her parents Ashley [Cain] and Safiyya [Vorajee] must feel.

It was obvious just how loved she was even though she was only here for a short time. My favourite picture was seeing her finally meet her cousin – they were only six days apart in age.

Ashley and Safiyya had such hope right up until the end which is amazing and the right thing. It can also be so hard because sometimes when you have so much hope, you’re almost not as prepared when the outcome isn’t what you want.

There are so many other parents in their position so I really admire that they’ve shown the hardest moment of their life to highlight what others are going through. I think a lot of people suffer in silence when they lose a child, so I hope by opening up, other parents will take some comfort that they’re not alone. They have also raised so much awareness, including encouraging over 41,000 stem cell donors to sign up in 48 hours, so I hope they also take comfort in the fact they’ve made a difference.

I would urge women not to put off their smear tests

With holidays still uncertain, I’ve been making the most of being able to go to the shops and channelled my inner Stacey Solomon after a trip to IKEA for my latest DIY project.

I absolutely love DIY but it’s very rare that I have the time so I took advantage of an unexpected day off and completed a storage project in our coat cupboard. It was a mess before so I’m loving how organised it is now! Like Stacey, I’m the queen of DIY at home.

I also did some socially distanced filming in my garden with Children and Family Health Surrey about the role of the health visitor and the different support available for parents. I think a lot of people think they haven’t been available for home visits during the pandemic, so we wanted to make sure families know they’re still there for support.

Health visitors are so important, especially for new mums, and I looked to them for help when I had my children. My health visitor was so supportive, including when it came to breastfeeding. Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives so they are such a wealth of knowledge. You can call your local health centre for more information.

It was great to see Steph McGovern having a smear test live on her show Steph’s Packed Lunch. The more that women can see the documenting of it, the more it debunks the myths that it’s painful and embarrassing.

I can tell you from the perspective of a doctor it’s not embarrassing at all – it’s part of our job and there are hundreds carried out daily. I remember before my first smear test I thought it was going to be awful because of what I’d heard, and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought.

Cervical screenings are so important and they are a proven way to prevent deaths from cervical cancer. You can get cervical cancer no matter how old you are, so if you’re eligible I would urge you to not put it off.

India needs to be prioritised for vaccines

As a healthcare professional, it’s awful to see what’s happening in India with the Covid-19 crisis. The numbers we’re seeing in terms of deaths are also likely to be an underestimation because it’s thought that lots of cases are being missed or not recorded.

I do think other nations have a responsibility to provide support to countries in this situation, so it’s great we have sent medical supplies there. But I also think India needs to be prioritised when it comes to access to vaccines.

Of course all governments are looking at purchasing vaccines to protect their own citizens, but we need to ensure there’s supply for developing countries. I really hope things will improve there soon.

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