Tributes have been paid to a “brave” and “inspirational” campaigner who fought for the rights of cancer patients across Wales.
Annie Mulholland died at her home in Cardiff on Sunday night, five years after being diagnosed with advanced and incurable ovarian cancer.
In a statement on her Facebook page on Monday her family said: “We are deeply saddened to announce that Annie Mulholland died peacefully last night, surrounded by her family at home.”
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They added: “She is an inspirational person who touched so many lives. She will be greatly missed.”
The 63-year-old, from Pontcanna in Cardiff, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in March 2011 after feeling a slight pain while swimming, which she said turned to “agony” within six weeks.
She had surgery at University Hospital Llandough in Penarth but not all of the tumours could be removed and she started chemotherapy in June 2011.
The former widening access officer at Cardiff University went into remission for two years.
In 2013 she decided to rent a room in London to receive treatment from the Royal Marsden Hospital after she was told by her Welsh health board that the drug Avastin was unavailable.
Annie said she wanted to raise awareness about cancer and encourage people not to be frightened of the disease.
She leaves behind husband Martin, her two daughters and three stepdaughters Abby, Lucy, Hannah, Laura and Rebecca, and her four grandchildren.
Tributes have been paid to her on social media by friends, colleagues, and public figures.
Charity Target Ovarian Cancer described her as “an inspirational woman who will be sadly missed”.
They wrote: “Annie was an amazingly inspirational woman who worked tirelessly to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.
“She campaigned for earlier diagnosis and better access to treatments in Wales and throughout the UK and to ensure that the voices of people living with cancer are listened to.”
They added: “She will be greatly missed but leaves an enormous legacy. Our thoughts are with Annie’s family at this very difficult time.”
Tenovus Cancer Care wrote on Twitter: “We’re so sad to hear about the passing of Annie Mulholland. We’re lucky to have known this inspirational lady.”
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HawliFyw Fighting Chance wrote on Facebook: “It is with enormous sadness we share the news that our friend and fellow campaigner Annie Mulholland has passed away.
“Despite her own diagnosis Annie was a fearless and outspoken opponent of the postcode lottery and worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the injustices that exist in Wales.”
Writing on Facebook her friend Julie Scates said: “Annie was a wonderful women and a great source of information and support to so many.
‘You will never be forgotten’
“She was a powerhouse and so determined to fight for this cause and that’s exactly what she did. Her legacy lives on.”
Another friend, Patricia Coward, said: “Feeling sad after hearing about the death of my inspirational friend Annie Mulholland. Such a lovely lady, she will be sorely missed.”
Linda Drew added: “Rest in peace Annie. It was an absolute honour to have met you and become your friend. You were such an inspiration to all us cancer warriors.”
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Linda Reardon said: “My lovely, stubborn, clever friend Annie Mulholland fell asleep last night. You will never be forgotten.
“You put the issue of access to cancer treatment in Wales firmly on the map.”
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies said she would be “sorely missed.”
He wrote on Twitter: “Annie Mulholland was a lady of immense character who stood up and fought for cancer patients across Wales.”