A BRAVE Barrhead mum who lost her severely autistic daughter to cancer has spoken out in hope of urging others to get clued up on symptoms affecting those with learning disabilities.

Eileen Douglas wants families to be aware of the signs so others don’t have to experience the levels of pain suffered by her and husband Neil.

Daughter Wendy, who died of breast cancer four years ago aged 36, had been unable to communicate her pain and symptoms to her family because of her condition.

Although Wendy endured several bouts of hospital treatment, doctors didn’t detect the cancer early enough to prevent her death.

Now, on the back of the fourth Breast Cancer Awareness month since her daughter’s death, Eileen says the issue must remain at the forefront of people’s minds.

To help the cause, Eileen curated a Breast Cancer Awareness display at The Bank Café, in Neilston, which featured several pieces created by herself and her talented daughter.

Eileen told the Barrhead News: “My interest is in raising awareness among those who look after those who can’t communicate. That includes people affected by autism, Alzheimer’s and even head injuries.

“Wendy couldn’t tell me; I don’t know how long it had been there.

“I just noticed it one day when she was in the bath. She was 33. There was no cancer in our family.

“There was no reason to check her but I have learned there is always a reason. I think it should be done on a regular basis as early detection is vital.

“Don’t think it can’t happen to you because by God, it can. Don’t I know it.”

Last year, the Douglas family paid tribute to their art-loving daughter by putting her work on show at The Bank Café to promote all the good things she did in her life.

Wendy, who started making tapestry aged just 13, continued to produce artwork up until her final days – something Eileen and Neil take tremendous pride in, given the difficulties their daughter faced.

Eileen added: “Last year I asked The Bank to put up her tapestries and this year I asked if I could do something for Breast Cancer Awareness month and put up some of my own.

“Wendy went through all the treatments. It was awful but she had a lovely nature.

“For those with learning disabilities, just look at what she did.”

To view Wendy’s artwork, go to: wendystapestries.wordpress.com.

Eileen also singled out the work of Kristin Hallenga, founder of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel.

After being diagnosed with incurable breast cancer aged 23, Kristin set up the organisation to spread the message to younger people that catching cancer early can result in a higher chance of survival and recovery.

CoppaFeel operates a reminder application which regularly encourages women to check their breasts for lumps. Visit: coppafeel.org for details.