Cambs Times reporter named as one of 20 ground breaking women in 2017 by The Independent newspaper
- Credit: Archant
Campaigning reporter Kath Sansom has been named as one of 20 ground breaking women of 2017 in an end of year round up in The Independent newspaper.
Kath joins actress Rose McGowan, who was among the first to speak out against disgraced director Harvey Weinstein, Chelsea striker Eni Aluko who campaigns against racism in football and the Women of the White Helmets peace movement in Syria.
Also in the final 20 are education for women campaigner Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban at the age of 15 for the crime of going to school, Cambridge University professor Mary Beard who brings literature to the masses through a popular TV show and political philanthropist Gina Miller who took Brexit to court and won.
Kath was named after running Sling The Mesh campaign for two and a half years.
Starting with just a handful of women on the Facebook support page there are now more than 5,000 members who join for information and support on mesh implants used to fix prolapse, incontinence and hernias.
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Kath said: “It is an honour to be among so many great women. This is testament to how one small person can make a big difference if you keep going in what you know is the right thing to do.”
Independent journalist Harriet Marsden, who compiled the list, said: “The past few years have seen the “biggest health scandal since thalidomide” blown wide open, and nobody has done more to expose the truth than Kath Sansom.
“In 2015, after she received a vaginal mesh implant to treat mild incontinence after babies, she suffered agonising pain and knew something was wrong.
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“She began to do some research online, and stumbled into a world of pain and ignored suffering: what would become known as the vaginal mesh scandal.
“As she herself wrote: “It probably needed a journalist to be mesh injured, to provide the final media push needed for the issue to get to Westminster.”
Since major removal surgery and particularly this year, Kath has used her extensive research to bring the scandal to light, keeping it in the national news agenda and tirelessly campaigning, prompting a lobby, debate and now a specialist Parliamentary think tank on mesh for which she is the formal advisor.
Harriet said: “As her group gains more members by the day, Sansom has also used social media to act as a touchstone of comfort and advice for all the new “meshies”, as the community calls themselves.
“To the thousands of men and women injured by hernia and vaginal mesh implants, Sansom is more than a campaigner: she’s a lifesaver. And if her activism leads to a full ban on mesh implants, that’s exactly what she’ll be.”