After losing her mum to ovarian cancer in January this year, Nicky decided to do as much as she could to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in her local area.
I wanted to raise awareness of ovarian cancer after my mum passed away in January 2018. My mum was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer just a month after her 60th birthday and, understandably, this had a massive effect on my family. Ovarian cancer came into our lives with a bang.
Although my mother fought hard for 14 months with her whole family behind her, sadly she passed away in January at the age of 61. We were all devastated – and angry that we hadn’t spotted any symptoms sooner. My family and I hadn’t even heard of ovarian cancer until my mum’s diagnosis so when my mum had been bloated and run down for a while we all put it down to something she was eating and the extra shifts she was doing at work. The fact that these symptoms are so often explained off as something less serious and that it can often take a while to get diagnosed shows we need to do more to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer among the general population and health professionals. Sitting in waiting rooms there are often see posters or leaflets about other cancers but rarely anything about ovarian cancer.
I decided to google the symptoms one evening to get clued up on it in case it affected myself or my sisters one day and I came across Target Ovarian Cancer who are raising awareness and thought what a fantastic idea! If I can help raise awareness, it might save someone's life. I started small and ordered leaflets for my own surgery and then other surgeries. The response was so great that I then ordered even more to up in local pharmacies, hospitals, school staff rooms, nursery staff rooms, local leisure centre, library, supermarket notice boards etc. I persuaded family, friends and acquaintances to get involved and take some to their workplaces too.
My brother in law is involved with the local football team and managed to get them to put a leaflet in every programme for one game so I had to order another 1800 leaflets! Raising ovarian cancer awareness isn't just about informing women but informing everyone - husbands, sons, fathers should all be aware of the symptoms too.
Some establishments, although sympathetic to the cause, weren't allowed to display anything without their name/stamp on it, while others were only allowed to display them if they were bilingual (I live in Wales). Luckily Target Ovarian Cancer provide Welsh versions of the posters too! I ordered the materials in Welsh and called the Head Office of these establishments and persuaded them to display our posters.
I found helping to raise awareness was helping with my grief. If one person with these symptoms saw a posters or a leaflet and went to the doctor and caught their cancer early it would be worth it.
I hope to do a fundraiser sometime in the future along with my sisters as we all believe more money should be invested into researching ovarian cancer. Research spend on ovarian cancer has dropped by a third in the past five years. This needs to change so we can develop new treatments so more women can survive ovarian cancer.