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A Celebration of Support: Your Inspiring Ideas in Action

15 October 2020

It’s been a hard year but thanks to you we have been able to continue our critical ovarian cancer research. Together we have reached millions of women, giving them information about ovarian cancer symptoms and encouraging them to visit their GP at a crucial time when cancer referrals are down. There’s still a long way to go, but we know we can do it with amazing people like you by our side.

From the powerful voice of Kate Winslet, to an inspiring farmer – our supporters are united by this dreadful disease, but in that unity is strength and support for Ovarian Cancer Action. Thank you for your innovation, inspiration and sharing your life stories with us, especially in the most difficult of times.

The Woman Behind The Words: I Will Survive

In this video you hear the iconic lyrics from Gloria Gaynor, the beautiful voice of Birdy, the powerful voice of young women and the iconic Kate Winslet who sadly lost her own mother to ovarian cancer. These amazing women are the voice and face of this powerful video, but behind this video is an amazing woman called VJ.

When Vicky Jacobs (VJ) former RKCR/Y&R Managing Director met our CEO Cary Wakefield, she had an idea. An idea to help more women of the future survive ovarian cancer. VJ was diagnosed with ovarian cancer herself, she made it her mission to put ovarian cancer in the spotlight and highlight the important need for research. We’re forever grateful for VJ and her creativity, to help women of the future. We tragically lost VJ in 2019, but she will forever be part of our mission to help more women survive ovarian cancer through the research we do. 

A Journey Of 1000km

Winters and Walkers Family

This year we saw one family take on a fantastic fundraising challenge riding an incredible 621 miles. The Winter family took to their bicycles just like their grandmother Brenda.

“We lost my beautiful nan, Brenda Winter, to Ovarian Cancer. That is why my cousin and aunties, Amy, Sally & Penny, rode 1000km to raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Action” – Gareth Winter.

Thank you to your family and your inspirational grandma Brenda.  

Read more: Brenda's grandchildren Gareth and Amy share their stories.

Marriage: A Legacy That Lives On

Derrick lost his wife Sue after a 4-year struggle with ovarian cancer, but his story with ovarian cancer did not end there.  “Just before she died, my wife said that if I were to give any funds to a charity, she would prefer that the charity be focused on finding a solution to this cancer. I’ve subsequently seen for myself that Ovarian Cancer Action is striving to do exactly that” – Derrick Boniface. 

Derrick - "If my legacy to Ovarian Cancer Action can help give hope to any woman impacted by this horrible disease, then it will be doing good."

By leaving a legacy in his will, Derrick is helping the next generation of women survive ovarian cancer. Thank you Derrick for your gesture of a lifetime.

Read more about Derrick and his wife here

A Young Man A Mum Would Be So Proud Of

At the age of 12 years old, Tom Hand lost his mum Shelley to Ovarian Cancer. Now at 18, he's following in her footsteps and fundraising for ovarian cancer research. This year Tom shook up the idea of traditional fundraising with a virtual 24 hour race and in his words:

"I held one of the most historic racing events of all time online, while raising money for a cause close to my heart" – Tom Hand.

Tom will be sharing his story about his mum and his innovative fundraising this month; we will share his amazing story with you.  

Celebrating a Decade of Walks: The Pinecone Walkers 


This year, The Pinecone Walkers are celebrating ten whole years of fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Action. With a lot of support from family and friends, the team have so far raised a staggering £29,435 in memory of Grant’s wife, Barbara. Her name is on the Tribute Wall at the Ovarian Cancer Research Centre.

Emily Legg, Head of Fundraising at Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “The Pinecone Walkers are an inspiration to all of us here at Ovarian Cancer Action. Their fundraising enables our scientists to understand how we can diagnose ovarian cancer early, treat it effectively and help women survive this difficult disease. We cannot do what we do without their support, so thank you to the Walkers and everyone who has dug deep in their pockets to support them!”

Read their full story here.

Fundraising Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Mr Wigley and his cow.png

Mr Wigley, a farmer from Llansantffraid, reared a unique herd of British Blue cattle in memory of his late wife, (Dilys) Evelyn Wigley. Evelyn Wigley sadly died of ovarian cancer in October 2015, just a few short years into her retirement. “Our plans for travel, our caravan holidays, and walking in the beautiful British countryside, loved by us both were put on hold until our retirement. It was a devastating blow to learn in the first few years of our retirement, that Evelyn had ovarian cancer” said Mr Wigley “I had to do something to help combat this evil disease, and be a tribute to my wife.

Stay tuned for Mr Wigley’s story that we’ll be sharing this autumn.

No Easy Feat: Fundraising in Lockdown

Each year since losing their wife, their mum - Rob Coan, and his sons Oliver and Toby, take part in Walk In Her Name. The walk has given them an opportunity to join their friends and family to comfort each other and celebrate the life of Aleasha, a much-missed wife and mum. This year in the depths of a pandemic, they knew they could still celebrate Aleasha.  

"Even in lockdown, it's something we can do together to celebrate this remarkable woman" – Rob Coan with his sons Oliver and Toby.

Miles apart, Aleasha’s family and friends took transformed their walk for Aleasha into remote local walks. Everyone who took part, wherever they were, whenever they walked for her made a £5 donation to our tribute fund in memory of Aleasha and in aid of her chosen charity Ovarian Cancer Action.

You can read their story here.

Walking 10 Marathons in 1 Month

Completing a marathon is no easy feat, but Andrew Tapp completed the equivalent of 10 marathons in one month. Originally Andrew was going to complete the Thames Path Challenge in memory of his mum who he lost to ovarian cancer 25 years ago at the age of 52. It would have been a 100km walk from Putney to Henley on Thames. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 this event has had to be rescheduled to 2021. So, Andrew took on a whole new challenge of his own - The Virtual Thames Path Challenge walking over 400km, that's 258 miles. He walked the equivalent journey of the Thames Barrier in Woolwich all the way to the source of the Thames in the Gloucestershire hills.

“I undertook this challenge to honour the memory of our Mum and to raise much needed money to fund research into the disease as well as raising awareness of ovarian cancer” – Andrew Tapp.

Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more about Andrew and his amazing marathon journey.

Thank You John Harris, Ovarian Cancer Action Wouldn’t Be Here Without You

John Harris, founder of the Helene Harris Memorial Trust (HHMT) that led to the inception of Ovarian Cancer Action, passed away this October, 2020.

“John was an extremely talented businessman and he brought that same success to HHMT and Ovarian Cancer Action.” said our Chief Executive Cary Wakefield. “In the 1980’s, most people hadn’t even heard of ovarian cancer. He did something extraordinary in bringing together the world's leading experts and now our progress knows no boundaries. In our international collaboration, his legacy will live on” – Cary Wakefield, CEO Ovarian Cancer Action.

Read, Remembering John Harris to find out more about his incredible work and how he lives on in all we do.

Thank you all so much for your continued support to Ovarian Cancer Action, our gratitude goes out to you. 

Ways you can support Ovarian Cancer Action, and just like many of our fundraisers – you can do it your way.

  1. Share your story: Your stories and support help other women and families.
  2. Take part in a sporting challenge here.
  3. Learn more about how you can leave a legacy in your will.
  4. Celebrate your love one’s life on our tribute wall.
  5. You can create a Facebook Fundraiser
  6. Virtual fundraising from Amazon Smile to ebay auctions, here's our guide
  7. Discover more ways to donate and fundraise.