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Thousands back mum's campaign

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 09, 2012

  • The Mercedes Curnow Foundation.

  • Mercedes in 2009 at Truro College, where she was studying photography.

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THOUSANDS of people have lent their voice to a campaign to lower the age of cervical screening after the death of a local woman aged just 23.

Mercedes Curnow died from cervical cancer in December and her mother Sandra Cousins has now made it her mission to fight for other young women to be tested.

The travel agent and photography student's story has gone viral on the internet with a petition calling for the lowering of screening from 25 to 20 already downloaded from the Mercedes Curnow Foundation website more than 4,000 times.

"The petition is going amazingly, we are all working full steam ahead," said Mrs Cousins.

"We have not been going for more than four weeks yet, I am blown away by the response."

Mercedes died at home in Crowlas with her mother convinced that if she had been given the smear test when she first began to experience symptoms, aged 20, she would still be alive.

Countless people across the country have been touched by Mercedes's story, with Mrs Cousins also appearing on ITV's Daybreak to highlight the cause.

With momentum gaining behind the campaign, Mercedes's family are focusing on their next high profile goal.

"We have had our official response from the Metropolitan Police to let us know that April 23 is when we are going to hand in the petition to Number 10 Downing Street," said Mrs Cousins.

"We need to get 100,000 signatures so this issue can be heard in Parliament. This is our main chance to do it."

And she said that to help boost support she will be getting in contact with every single university in the country to get the campaign message out to young women.

"One way or another we will stop deaths from happening," she said.

Another aim is to raise enough cash to provide private smear tests for young women as well as appointments with gynaecologists.

Cash boosts are set to come from a number of fundraising events, including Mercedes's sister Kirsty taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon this May, Anne Varker running the Reading Half Marathon, pupils at Ludgvan Primary School, where the young woman was a pupil, enjoying a non-school uniform day this Friday, and Matt's Bar in Penzance holding a charity event on Saturday, February 18.

For details on the Foundation, fundraising events and petition, visit the dedicated Facebook page or www. tinyurl.com/mercedescurnow.

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