Women's health activist Lynda Williams dies of cancer

Lynda Williams, tireless campaigner for social injustice has died.
LUKE BALLANTINE / SUPPLIED

Lynda Williams, tireless campaigner for social injustice has died.

Longstanding women's health activist Lynda Williams has died, ending a battle with cancer that lasted nearly two years.

The 67-year-old died surrounded by her children at home on Thursday, according to a death notice posted by the family.

Williams was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2015 and had been under hospice care since June.

Lynda fought fearlessly for the causes she believed in.
LUKE BALLANTINE / SUPPLIED

Lynda fought fearlessly for the causes she believed in.

The West Auckland resident worked in women's health for more than 35 years, earning herself a reputation as a tireless campaigner.

READ MORE: West Aucklanders honoured in New Years list

She opened the Auckland Caesarean Support Group in 1984 after feeling she had little control over how she was treated after giving birth.

She was a co-ordinator for the Auckland Women's Health Council and the Auckland Maternity Services Consumer Council from the early 1990s, and was also active in the Homebirth Association.

Friend and fellow health campaigner Dr Graham Gulbransen said Williams was fearless, with a strong awareness of injustice.

"She was just always there, and never gave up when things needed to be put right," he said.

"I think she looked at her health in the same way, that as much as possible she wasn't going to give up on this."

Ad Feedback

Gulbransen said Williams maintained a presence at Waitemata DHB until near the end, "challenging them, and letting the board know that the people are watching".

Williams was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 New Year Honours for her services to women's health.

Her death notice described her as a "beloved mother" to five children – Luke, Taare, Samantha, Ariel and Tristan – and a grandmother of six.

"She is survived by her immensely proud family," the notice said.

Shortly after her diagnosis Williams began a blog, Lynda's Letters, where she chronicled her journey.

"I do not pity myself, nor have I ever wondered 'Why me?'" she wrote in an early entry. 

"Yes, I think it is unfair, cruel even, but it is what it is. I haven't got time to rail against my fate even if I wanted to, which I don't."

She wrote frankly of her struggles with terminal cancer, and posted on June 5 that she was struggling with not being able to eat or drink anything without suffering spasmodic pain.

"The heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and gastric pain that follows from swallowing even a sip of water has become more than I can bear," she wrote.

"Some nights the pain is excruciating and nothing I am prescribed seems to work.

"I feel myself getting weaker by the day and I am now desperately hoping that there is a Plan B that will work and get rid of the pain."

Williams last posted on June 25, after which her son Luke Ballantine took responsibility for the blog.

"Mum has had some really great days over the past few weeks," wrote Ballantine on July 2, four days before his mother died.

"It is clear she is still able to have a high quality of life at the end, thanks to her wonderful network of friends and family."

After her death, Ballantine said he and the family were grateful for all the messages of support they had received from her friends, colleagues and people in the community over this past 20 months.

"It has been really touching to hear from people that have acknowledged the impact she has had on the health service. The culmination of that was the Order of Merit award she received in the New Years honours list this year.

"We were all very proud to call her our mother."

Williams will be farewelled with a service in Oratia on Monday, July 10.

Ballantine added that "bangles may be worn" at the service.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Fatal Auckland cliff fall

Emergency services were called after reports a person had fallen from a cliff in Mairangi Bay in Auckland. (FILE)

A person is dead after falling from a cliff in Mairangi Bay on Auckland's North Shore.

Wildlife haven plan for Orewa estuary

Godwits are just one of the 50 species of bird that can already be found in the estuary.

Orewa estuary may soon return to a thriving wildlife haven if plans to restore its borders are successful.

Auckland beaches go smokefree

Auckland beaches will be smokefree as of November.

Smoking at beaches and outdoor dining areas has been stubbed out just in time for summer.

Last crew of HMS Leander dies

World War II navy veterans Des Price and Bill Morland who both served on the ship HMS Leander.

​The last surviving member of the famous WW2 ship HMS Leander has died in Auckland aged 97.

Wellington

Evans Bay camper trouble

Neighbours complain that they regularly see freedom campers getting dressed in public, doing their laundry and cleaning ...

Freedom campers doing laundry and getting dressed in public, say neighbours.

Quake jolts central NZ

The quake struck at 5.17pm at a depth of 18km, according to Geonet.

Short and sharp 3.8 magnitude earthquake near Lower Hutt rattled Wellington.

Apology to separated train family

Mum Lauren Petersen says she is still traumitised at being separated from daughters Chelsea, left, and Zara, right, at ...

TransDev staff to get further training after train doors leave young children stranded.

Attackers sought in teen assault

Police are calling for witnesses after a 14-year-old boy was assaulted by a trio of attackers in Hastings.

A 14-year-old is in a stable condition and police are looking for three attackers.

Canterbury

Restoration sparks donation surge

The earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral will be restored.

Decision to restore Christ Church Cathedral sparks rise in donations, including $10,000 from the US.

Tenants mum on rents

The Ministry of Justice says there are "no current plans" to sell Christchurch's new 42,000-square metre justice precinct.

Agencies moving into Chch's new justice precinct tight-lipped about rents in the $300m building.

Historic farm and manor for sale

Glenralloch Manor, built in 1912, is the centrepiece of the farm for sale that overlooks Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula.

One of New Zealand's earliest sheep and beef farms, on Banks Peninsula, is on the market.

Neighbours' row turned to murder

Stephen Findlay in his younger days

Miranda Clare knew her dad was involved when she heard of a murder near Dunedin.

Waikato

Mother's phone scam taxi ride

Dimpi Nirmal, left and husband Vineet have $1900 worth of iTunes vouchers as a reminder of the phone scam.

They hacked her husband's phone, threatened his life then ordered her a taxi to an iTunes store.

Family want answers

Neville John Maxwell Butler with his mum, Julie Donner.

Days after leaving jail, Neville Butler was dead. 

One dead in Waihi crash 

A car and a truck were involved in the serious, two-car crash on State Highway 2, depicted in this Google Maps image.

Emergency services are responding to the State Highway 2 crash.

Shot before threesome

Tiffani Jade Sutcliffe asked if a shotgun was loaded before pulling the trigger and killing Rhys Gordon Williamson

It was meant to be an evening of drug-taking and group sex. It ended in anger and death.

Taranaki

Coops captured on canvas

Jordan Barnes' portrait of Colin Cooper was commissioned by the TRFU as a farewell gift for the coach.

He's painted All Blacks and Anna Paquin and now, as a farewell present, outgoing Taranaki coach Colin Cooper.

Protection for breaks

Pro surfer Courtney Conlogue, shreds a wave at Fitzroy Beach which is on a list of Taranaki Regional Council surf breaks ...

Taranaki's top surf spots have been identified so they can be protected.

Climbing Everest in Taranaki

Hasely Lobb will be climbing the equivalent height of Everest over the month of November, taking it a step at a time ...

To climb the equivalent height of Mt Everest, you'd need to do Paritutu 90 times.

Gun club misunderstanding

The Disputes Tribunal rulled there had been a misunderstanding between the New Plymouth Club  and The New Zealand ...

A venue which cancelled a booking for a gun show and auction has been ordered to pay some of the associated costs.

Manawatu

Circus will pay for muddy mess video

Manawatu Standard reporter Janine Rankin in the muddy aftermath left by the Weber Bros Circus after their visit to ...

After the fun and thrills of the circus, there was an expected muddy mess to repair.

'Victim of science' video

Mark Lundy, pictured at his 2015 retrial, has twice been convicted of murdering his wife Christine and their 7-year-old ...

Mark Lundy's lawyer opens appeal against the murder convictions.

$32,500 for a landline

Bill Tooley is unable to connect a St John Medical Alarm because Chorus needs to extend its network.

Manawatū man can't connect a medical alarm because Chorus needs to extend its network.

Bright lights for lost infants video

Addison Murphy, 8, left, and Ruby Marsh, 11, light lanterns in recognition of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss ...

Manawatū remembers the lives of little ones with a lantern release.

Nelson

570km to get out of caravan

Cindy is living with her two sons in a borrowed caravan at the Tahuna Beach  Holiday Park while trying to get a Housing ...

A Nelson mum and her two boys are moving to Timaru - just to get a Housing New Zealand home.

Triumph after crash

Louise Corbett can finally relax after her epic Ironman adventure.

Six months after being broken in a cycle crash, Nelson's Louise Corbett finishes the Hawaiian Ironman. 

Campaigner facing cannabis charges

Medicinal cannabis campaigner and "green fairy" Rose Renton faces cannabis charges.

Cannabis campaigner charged with supplying chronic pain sufferers with products.

Poachers 'too lazy'

Two hunters scaled a security gate to access a 580-hectare property near Pelorus River. (File photo)

But they weren't too lazy to climb a 2-metre gate 18 times in 15 months.

Marlborough

Convoys on a roll

Soldiers on Operation Exercise Southern Katipo give sentry duty while camp is set up at Omaka; from left, Private Weir ...

Exercise Southern Katipo is underway in Marlborough with soldiers and equipment being transferred on the alternate Picton to Christchurch route this week.

Revenge backfires

Screen shots posted by Lisa Maree Moynihan attacking people she claimed ripped off her son were shared more than 100 times.

A mum decided to shame an alleged dealer on Facebook when her son didn't receive his cannabis. 

Furnace plans spark action group

Alan Hall, foreground, is leading the resurrected Blenheim Residents and Ratepayers Association to fight a proposed ...

After "investing their life's savings" into their new homes, residents have banded together to fight the furnace to the bitter end.

Poachers too lazy to go around

Two hunters scaled a security gate to access a 580-hectare property near Pelorus River. (File photo)

But they weren't too lazy to climb a 2-metre gate 18 times in 15 months.

South Canterbury

First crack at musical direction

Matt Deavoll is trying his hand as musical director for upcoming South Canterbury Drama League show Variety.

Deavoll's been in the orchestra, and on the stage. Now, for the first time, he's the musical director

Last lap for fundraisers

Phar Lap Charitable Trust member Noel Walker says the trust is chipping away at the loan it received to cover the ...

Trust still chipping away at loan eight years after Phar Lap statue was erected outside race track.

Shearing shed gutted

Bruce Rogers surveys the damage to his shearing shed after the fire on Monday night.

Fire crews forced to cut holes in wool shed to extinguish "well involved" fire near Geraldine.

'Ripped from my life'

Oamaru pensioner William Arthur Lee arrives at Timaru District Court on Monday morning with defence counsel Michael de Buyzer

Oamaru pensioner sentenced after killing a man he drove into on a pavement.

Otago

Neighbours' row turned to murder

Stephen Findlay in his younger days

When Miranda Clare heard about a murder in a small Otago town, she knew her father would be involved.

Kiwi favourites go offshore

A Dunedin group pulled out of a plan to keep production of Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas, Buzz Bars and Pinky bars local.

Manufacturer accused of "duping" union as Jaffas, Pineapple Lumps and Pinky Bars head off to Aus.

Backyard trapping volunteers sought video

Wanaka resident Kris Vollebregt caught three rats in her first two weeks of backyard trapping.

If you have a compost bin, you have rats. And that possum in your tree? It's yours, too.

Southern United lose Irish winger

Southern United's Andy Mulligan, left, challenges Leo Villa from Team Wellington during a national league football match ...

Southern United will have to do without the services of injured Irishman Andy Mulligan this season.

Southland

Bravery awards for Nightcaps fire

Nightcaps men Conrad Waihape, left, and Phil Manson were presented with Bravery awards at a Southland District Council ...

"It was pretty dark and bloody hard to see..."

Let's talk, Southland: Kirwan

Sir John Kirwan visited Northern Southland College, Lumsden, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mental health speeches "powerful, timely, relevant".

Aparima College to get new principal, board of trustees

Aparima College commissioner Nicola Hornsey.

Embattled Aparima College in Riverton is set to have elections to form a board of trustees after its new principal is recruited.

Shears leader quietly determined

Winton shearer Troy Pyper in the Open heats at the 50th Waimate Shears on Saturday.

Up-and-coming Southland shearer not taking anything for granted.

Ad Feedback