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Posted by Annie on Thursday 13 February 2014

With Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month looming, it's time many of us turn our minds to taking part in an event to raise awareness of ovarian cancer or to raise funds to support vital work in this area.

For those of us who have the disease or are receiving treatment, it can be a bit daunting thinking about fundraising. I've seen some great initiatives such as sky-diving, marathons, and tea parties but I’ve been nervous about committing to a specific event as I’m currently receiving treatment and I’ve been concerned I might not be well enough to take part on the day.

My fundraising idea

My fundraising idea grew from an idea I had about writing a blog to let people know how the treatment is going. I don't have the technical know-how to create a blog from scratch so I created it on a JustGiving page. I had no idea when I started out how many people would be interested in it, or indeed, the people who might be inspired to donate to my cause. Within six weeks the JustGiving appeal had raised over £1,000 and had featured in an awareness-raising article in my local Saturday newspaper.

Just think, even if a few of us receiving treatment felt able or interested in doing something similar, how much money could be raised for Target Ovarian Cancer. I feel slightly guilty as my ‘challenge’ has taken no effort at all, but it has been a thought-provoking occupation and one that has brought far more rewards than I would have anticipated. My followers also tell me it's been a relief to them to hear how things are going and the blog has sent out the message that I want to keep in touch. As the treatment progresses and fatigue increases it's been very comforting and therapeutic to share my thoughts and feelings and to receive encouraging feedback from friends and family.

I used the ‘My Story’ element of a JustGiving page to write the blog and I update it every two or three weeks. I’ve attempted to give each episode a thought-provoking title to draw readers in and I then send an email to my contact list advertising the new story and post an advert on Facebook and Twitter. I generally feel awkward asking people to donate to a cause. It’s been so much easier to send invitations to read a new episode but it comes down to the same thing. If friends and family visit the blog enough times, then one day they will find themselves in a giving frame of mind. I’ve attempted to balance the reality of each episode with a bit of light humour, and to conclude each one with a cheerful reminder to come back and read the next episode.

Helpful ideas

I’ve had great support from Target Ovarian Cancer’s team who have been in regular contact since I started the page and have offered helpful ideas to improve the effectiveness of the campaign. Simon suggested we could promote the blog through the local press and I didn’t think for a minute they would find it newsworthy but the local paper took an interest and a whole page article appeared in the Saturday paper. The opportunity to reach such a wide readership took the blog to a new level giving us an opportunity to promote the work Target Ovarian Cancer are doing in Wales but also to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms.

I shall continue to update my blog until my treatment finishes. My oncologist told me last week that she may decide to add two further sessions to my treatment. I couldn’t resist a little smile as this will extend my fundraising campaign. That wouldn’t normally have been my first reaction on receiving that sort of news.

Do please take a look at my blog. I hope it might inspire others to do something similar. The next episode will be The One Centimetre Challenge. You will need to revisit in February to read about that.

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