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Nola Marino MP
Nola was elected as the Federal Member for Forrest in 2007, is the first woman to hold the seat and in 2015, she was the first woman to be appointed to the role of Chief Government Whip in the Federal Parliament.
Nola was raised in Brunswick Junction, a small country town in the South West of WA. She worked in a public accountancy firm until she married her husband, Charlie. On the day they were married, Nola and Charlie bought their first dairy property in Harvey. The family business includes her son Kim and daughter-in-law Deanna, as well as grandsons Dylan and Simon. Her daughter Kylie lives and works in the region.
Nola has experienced the impacts of endometriosis personally, and her daughter Kylie was diagnosed with the condition after years of suffering. Kylie was in her 30s before a doctor finally said those words, ‘you have endometriosis.’
Kylie had all the symptoms from high school age, and after five failed attempts to carry out a pap smear test she visited a gynaecologist, who made her feel as though she was overstating her symptoms. She was told that her struggles were normal and “to just have a baby”.
Her symptoms continued to worsen over time. Changes to her bowel and bladder emerged. She developed a fistula in her bowel. A second gynaecologist did exploratory surgery. A third gynaecologist recognised the images from her last day surgery and was concerned about the possibility of irritable bowel syndrome, so did his own exploratory surgery. He was the first one to say to her: ‘I’m so sorry. No wonder you are in so much pain. You have the worst case of endometriosis I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, it’s been so aggressive it has attached itself to your bowel and is strangling it.’ Multiple consultations and tests followed, as did medically induced menopause, her hair falling out in clumps and multiple surgeries to remove both tubes and an ovary. By March 2014 she was working with a colorectal surgeon and her gynaecologist, who conducted a bowel resection.
Post op, Kylie developed an infection at the drain site that camouflaged other very serious internal complications. She had peritonitis, septicaemia, a lower bowel infection and a burst appendix, and her heart went into fibrillation when a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line was being inserted. She had surgery in Perth and spent 11 days in ICU. She had 1,500 internal staples, 15 tubes inserted and three external colostomy bags, one of which was an ileostomy. For those 11 days, Nola sat beside Kylie’s bed, willing her to live and telling her just to breathe.
Nola worked with former Minister for Health Greg Hunt, former Member for Boothby, Nicolle Flint and former Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, to raise awareness of endo and the Parliamentary Friends of Endometriosis Awareness was launched. In 2018, Nola was involved in the development of the first ever National Action Plan for Endometriosis, which is focused on improving awareness and understanding of endometriosis, speeding up diagnosis by medical practitioners and medical research to develop better treatment options and ultimately find a cure. Since then, Nola has been a strong advocate for women suffering with endometriosis and continues to advocate for further research into the condition.
Currently, Nola is fighting for Endometriosis Centres of Excellence, funding of pelvic-pain clinics and greater education for GPs and gynaecologists. Nola sends a letter to all the women of reproductive age in Forrest, encouraging them to take the symptoms seriously and to visit their trusted medical professional if necessary. She is proud to be a WA Ambassador for Endometriosis Australia and continues to raise awareness of Endo.