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Our volunteer Margaret lost family and a friend to ovarian cancer

Margaret is a volunteer for Target Ovarian Cancer. She tells us why she volunteers for us.

I have been volunteering for Target Ovarian Cancer for over three years now. I was motivated to volunteer, having lost my mother in law to ovarian cancer some years ago and was told about Target Ovarian Cancer by a very good friend who had recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had attended a Being Together day

Most weeks I go into the office and help the Fundraising Team with a range of tasks. At the start of the year in the lead up to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, there’s always a huge demand for materials from supporters which I help to assemble. Also, everything needs to be recorded on the charity’s database to allow the Fundraising team to keep track of all the planned events, so often I will help by updating the records on their system.

Raising money and awareness

I live in London so regularly volunteer for bucket collections at Underground and mainline stations. This not only raises a lot of money (at some stations we can raise over £1,000 in a day!) but importantly it also increases awareness of Target Ovarian Cancer amongst the 1000s of commuters who pass by while we are ‘tin rattling’. As well as collecting two or three times a month I also help put together the permit applications, counting the money we raise and maintaining a spreadsheet with details of all the collection volunteers, how much we raise and whether we want to request that particular station again.

I have also undertaken various projects for the Fundraising Team such as identifying university societies and golf clubs which may be interested in organising fundraising events, and also researching businesses which may be willing to help publicise The Ovarian Cancer Walk.

In addition to helping with fundraising, I also regularly act as a lay reviewer for Target Ovarian Cancer’s research programme, assessing the grant proposals that are submitted.

Increasing early diagnosis

Lots of people come up when I'm volunteering and tell me that a friend, relative or partner has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It affects so many people and it is shocking symptom awareness is still so woeful. But Target Ovarian Cancer is working very hard to improve awareness, which will have a direct impact on increasing earlier diagnosis.

Even though my husband Pete’s mother died of ovarian cancer, my awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms was still poor.

We need to make sure women who experience any of the symptoms frequently or persistently, get checked out by their GP. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Often people don’t like to make a fuss but if you’re worried, you need to have the courage to speak to your GP.

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