16 June 2023

Royal honour consolidates importance of my work, says cancer charity founder

16 June 2023

A woman who was diagnosed with incurable cancer more than five years ago has been made an MBE for her work campaigning to bring a life-prolonging drug to patients in Scotland.

Jen Hardy, 56, from Edinburgh, is recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours for her services to cancer support, which has also included setting up the charity Cancer Card to help others in need.

She said of her royal honour: “Receiving this award is more than I could have ever dreamed of. It consolidates the importance and purpose of what we do every day.”

In October 2017 she was diagnosed with incurable stage four breast cancer following a CT scan to find the cause of a paralysed vocal cord.

But despite the shattering news, she became a campaigner and pioneer for cancer support services.

She was the face of a campaign to make the drug Pertuzumab (Perjeta) available on the NHS in Scotland.

It was too late for her to benefit from the drug, but because of the campaign thousands of people in Scotland now have access to the life-extending medication.

It had been available in England and Wales and patients in Scotland were given access to it in September 2019.

Despite having to deal with her own diagnosis, along with many hospital visits, Ms Hardy founded Cancer Card in 2020, which she describes as “more than a charity”.

She said: “It is a labour of love inspired by my own journey and driven by the desire to bring hope and support to others battling cancer.

Jen is truly one of the most inspiring individuals I know and there is nobody more deserving of this prestigious award

“We understand that cancer affects more than the patient and are focused on providing access to the support needs of partners, families and friends too as they try to come to terms with the world of cancer.”

The charity is a one-stop-shop designed to easily guide cancer patients and their loved ones to services that will best support them.

Its online support hub also allows them to connect with a community of people who are going through similar experiences.

Ian Pirrie, chief executive of the charity, said: “Jen is truly one of the most inspiring individuals I know and there is nobody more deserving of this prestigious award.”

Conservative Lothian MSP Miles Briggs offered his “wholehearted congratulations” to Ms Hardy on her royal honour.

“Jen has put in a power of work to help create a one-stop information portal for others who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families,” he said.

“Her tireless work, along with that of her team and countless volunteers, has been an inspiration to all of us and the success of Cancer Card is a testament to this.”

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