Sarah, a policewoman from Brighton, has terminal ovarian cancer. Since being diagnosed, she’s jumped out of a plane and discharged herself from hospital to abseil down the UK’s tallest abseil tower – to raise money for Target Ovarian Cancer. Sarah volunteers for the charity, speaking at events, contributing to publications and raising symptom awareness, all while undergoing treatment and taking part in a clinical trial.
I was diagnosed with clear cell ovarian cancer. Unlike most women I didn't have many ovarian cancer symptoms. I’d slipped a disc at work and, a year later, my back had started to constantly ache.
I was given an MRI scan, which showed up a large grapefruit-sized, cystic mass in my pelvic area. The doctors told me it was nothing to worry about because I was a fit and healthy 36-year-old.
When they came to remove it they found otherwise. I had ovarian cancer, and my journey began.
After a full hysterectomy I received six cycles of paclitaxol and carboplatin chemo. This was not a pleasant experience but I got through it and was in remission for about six months before it came back - with a vengeance.
When my cancer returned, it was giving off a chemical that caused my blood to clot and clot and clot. I suffered terribly as none of the anti-coagulation drugs could control the clotting. I had to spend a lot of time in hospital.
A second bout of chemotherapy was started, this time weekly taxol. Unfortunately, half way through, the infamous CA125 level began rising and scans showed my pelvic tumour had tripled in size. Like many women, I was taxol resistant.
Never give up
My oncologist told me a cure was not possible. But I just could not believe, in this day and age, that there was nothing anyone could do to help me. There had to be something. I wasn't going down without a fight.
Fortunately, through research and speaking to a variety of professionals, I found a phase 1 clinical trial that I was eligible to join because of the rare form of clear cell ovarian cancer I have.
I’ve grown close to the staff who look after me and I can’t speak highly enough of them. Every scan so far has showed a slight increase in my tumours but they are still classed as stable for the time being.
Living in the moment
Over the last few years, I have been campaigning tirelessly for Target Ovarian Cancer to help raise awareness of the disease, and to raise all the money I can to help women like me in the future.
As part of fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, I shaved all my hair off and, the following year, I jumped out of a plane. I confronted my fears doing a skydive and, although it was scary, it was completely exhilarating and raised a lot of money. I’ve also abseiled down a tower to raise money.
So far Team Crockers has raised over £24,000 for Target Ovarian Cancer.
What we do now will change women’s lives in the future. Will you take on a challenge?
Inspired by Sarah? We’d love to hear your ovarian cancer story. Share it with us by filling in the form.
- Get support for terminal ovarian cancer
- Fundraise for us
- Visit the Clinical Trials Information Centre
- Read more stories