After losing her daughter, Selena, to ovarian cancer in 2008, Kath was determined to help other women with the disease. Since then, the 73 year old has jumped out of a plane, wing walked and helped raise thousands of pounds for ovarian cancer charities…
My daughter Selena had all the symptoms of ovarian cancer - backache, bloating and loss of weight, but when she went to her GP he just gave her something for her bloating. It was only when she was in terrible pain that I convinced her to go to A&E. Although they admitted her, it took them a week before they said it was ovarian cancer. That was April 2008; she was 39 years old.
The doctors told her they could not operate, but that they would give her chemo. She only had two sessions when they said it was terminal and they would not give her anymore treatment. She was on her own when they told her the news which was unbearable for her and for us.
BRCA gene mutation
Selena decided to go to our local hospice - who were wonderful. She died 23 July 2008, just three months after her diagnosis. My mother-in-law died of ovarian cancer - which we did not know of at the time - so Selena was never tested for BRCA gene mutation. The family have since been tested.
The most difficult thing for me was watching my daughter die a little bit every day for three months and not being able to anything to help her live. It broke our hearts every day and my anger never goes away - 'why her?' I always say. My daughter was outgoing, married to Steve for 15 years and worked with people with learning difficulties. She loved horses and was fun to be around.
Selena had great support from the care nurses and Macmillan nurses. I’ve done lots of fundraising as well. I have done walks, gym trails, a skydive and a wing walk. This year I am doing the longest zip-wire event in Europe.
I love going to art classes and computer classes, the theatre and having coffee mornings and days out with family and friends. Going to my art class was the only thing I could do for a long time as it was a calm place to be. I also had one-to-one for counselling for a year, which I would not have coped without. Although my life is half-empty without Selena, it’s also half-full because I have a great husband and a wonderful son. My heart will never heal but every morning I say good morning to Selena then get on with my day - as Selena would want me to.
We scattered her ashes all over England in the places she loved the most. I have had two friends who have survived ovarian cancer because I could let them know the symptoms and they got early treatment. I decided to get in touch with Target Ovarian Cancer because I want all women - young or old - to be better informed about ovarian cancer. We need more awareness of this disease. I want to help make sure that there is more information available so my daughter - and all the other women who have died of ovarian cancer - are the last.