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Denise's last gift for women with ovarian cancer.

Denise Migliorini IMG-20240315-WA0003

Denise was more than a friend to Fiona; she was a beacon of strength and courage.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the spring of 2021, Denise faced her journey through treatment and recurrence with an unwavering spirit. However, the harsh reality of this disease took her from those she loved on 30th January 2023.

Yet, while Denise’s battle with ovarian cancer was heartbreakingly short, her legacy will outlive us all.

Before she died, Denise made a significant decision – one that mirrored her courageous heart. She chose to leave an incredible £300,000 in her Will to Ovarian Cancer Action for which we are so grateful.

Through her close friend Fiona, we get to read about the wonderful woman she was.

“I’ll always cherish the memory of my friend leaving our Paris hotel one evening, dressed perfectly in a mini dress, fancy tights, and high heels for a night out by herself. I am sorry I didn’t capture that moment with a photo! She spent a marvellous evening at the Folies Bergère, enjoying the performance from a private box along with half a bottle of champagne. Unperturbed by being alone or navigating the Parisian metro in her glamorous outfit without speaking any French, she represented independence and courage – this was Denise.

Denise qualified as a doctor in Milan and had moved to the UK in 2003. She and I first met while working at Northampton General Hospital where she was a speciality doctor in the Department of Sexual Health. We became particularly good friends after my retirement and spent a lot of time together.

Once we went on holiday to Spain and she was the driver. At one point we were parked between two vehicles on a very steep hill but she couldn’t get the car out of the tight space. We asked a passing stranger for help and he kindly moved it for us. He obviously thought we were completely mad but it was very funny!

Her driving was very Italian. She didn’t wait around for anyone. At one point she had this little red Mazda sports car, and I can still imagine her driving to work on the M1 and speeding past huge articulated lorries, with a cushion behind her back because she was so little she could hardly reach the pedals.

But despite her small stature, she was a formidable presence. As a friend and colleague, Denise was caring, loyal, quite private but with a great sense of fun. She was also very hard-working.

Denise had a love and passion for life.

She loved her double espresso coffee and would make one at home and have it before her shift started and then another at lunch. Above all else though she loved her family – I know she interrupted her university education to care for her parents. When her father died she moved her mother from Italy to live with her in the UK. She was completely selfless.

I’m so proud to have called her my friend.

I remember taking her down to the hospital for her operation; she looked so small that day. Her illness had developed rapidly but she was determined to do everything she could to fight it. She had a fighting spirit.

And her fighting spirit still lives on. After much thought, Denise decided to leave a gift in her Will to Ovarian Cancer Action. She ultimately chose a charity focussed on research because of her experience – she was filled with gratitude towards her oncologist and surgeon, for the treatment and care she received in hospital.

I am so proud of her for deciding to do this.

Above all, Denise’s smile and her laughter are the memories I hold dear. Her joyous nature, even in conversation, was infectious.

I miss her dearly, but I am proud of the difference her legacy will make for so many women like her.


One woman dies of ovarian cancer in the UK every two hours. Ovarian cancer survival rates are currently lower than breast cancer survival rates were in the 1970s. Despite this, the disease remains under-represented and underfunded compared to many other cancers.

We think this is unacceptable. The next generation deserves better. With your help we can continue to fund more ground-breaking research and increase awareness of ovarian cancer. 

To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will to Ovarian Cancer Action, email legacy@ovarian.org.uk or call us on 020 7380 1730