Hazel recognised for helping people at risk of cancer

Hazel recognised for helping people at risk of cancer

13 January 2021

A BALLYNAHINCH woman who has played a major role in helping people with cancer was recognised in the New Year Honours.

Hazel Carson was awarded an MBE for services to people with genetic high risk of cancer.

Mrs Carson, a 46 year-old mother-of-four, is a teacher at Wellington College in Belfast.

She is also a co-founder of BRCA Link NI, which helps people access information and support about BRCA genetic mutations and also raises awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Mrs Carson, whose mother died from cancer in 1997 at the age of 47, carries the BRCA gene and says her idea for BRCA Link NI came about as a result of her experience.

“This is a family issue involving genetics and I want to provide hope in Northern Ireland that we as BRCA carriers can make informed decisions about our health, share our experiences with others to help them make choices, which could lead to a longer, healthier life,” she said.

“I want to help improve communication about developments in this field for the future benefit of my daughters and son, who one day may have to begin a search for information for themselves.”

She continued: “We need to continue to raise the profile of this issue to make other carriers aware and to encourage greater co-operation and information sharing between professionals.

“I want to inform and support others in the same situation I was in when I first discovered that I was a carrier.

“I want to pass on my experience of the questions, anxieties and fears I had at the time and be able to give people the resources and information they need to make the best decision for themselves.

“BRCA Link NI is a vital step to making some of those things happen. We hope that, at the very least, this will be a help to some of you now and to many others in the future.”

Mrs Carson said she was delighted to receive the award, which she dedicated to families in Northern Ireland who have been affected by cancer.

Further information about BRCA Link NI is available by going to the website www.brcani.co.uk.