Sidmouth’s Andie Milne, a survivor of bladder cancer, was among a group who visited the Houses of Parliament this week as part of an awareness campaign.

Andie is an advocate for Fight Bladder Cancer, a charity that supports patients while campaigning for more research into the disease and better medical care.

Representatives of the group went to Westminster on Tuesday, May 21, to promote these aims.

Andie said: “What an amazing afternoon. I had meetings with so many MPs at Portcullis House in Westminster.

“We spoke about Bladder Cancer Awareness Month and how MPs can support our policy aims to bring bladder cancer to the forefront of the parliamentary agenda.”

Andie is well known in Sidmouth as the former co-ordinator of the Sid Valley Food Bank and the founder of the Oasis Café at Dissenters Hall. During the Covid pandemic and lockdowns she led a team who made sure vulnerable people received food parcels and were offered support for their mental wellbeing.

But she has also had to overcome major challenges in her own life. Andie was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and underwent 12 cycles of chemotherapy, as well as life-changing reconstructive surgery.

During that time, and in the years that followed, she received very little support to help her cope with the treatment and the after-effects of the surgery. Nothing was available locally to help people with that particular medical condition. She didn’t find out about the Fight Bladder Cancer charity until 2022 when she was on holiday in Scotland and had to visit a local hospital, where there was a poster promoting the organisation. It's a relatively new charity that was founded by patients and carers who support each other while campaigning for research, awareness and understanding. Bladder cancer currently receives only one per cent cancer research funding in the UK.

Andie became involved with the charity and now uses her own experience to help others understand and cope with the condition, while also continuing her work with the Oasis Café in Sidmouth and other community initiatives.

For more information visit the Fight Bladder Cancer website.