It's Volunteers' Week and we're celebrating the amazing men and women who devote their time and energy to creating a better future for women with ovarian cancer. Whether that's giving awareness talks, cheering at races, taking part in bucket collections or even lending a hand in the office — we're so indebted to our incredible volunteers for the work that they do!
I was motivated to volunteer after watching my sister, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014, campaign and fight to increase awareness of this disease and the treatments available. Sadly my sister died in 2016, just two years after diagnosis. Lesley’s death left a hole in my life and I wanted to ensure that her fight continued and the symptoms of ovarian cancer were promoted. Had Lesley or her doctors been aware of the symptoms maybe her outcome could have been betterWhat does your volunteer role involve?
I’ll do anything to help raise the profile and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Since Lesley has died myself, her husband, children, our family and friends have taken part in Walk in Her Name. Whilst I initially attended an event organised in Cardiff, for the last two years I have organised an event in our local town. These events keep Lesley’s memory alive and have so far raised over £5,000 for OCA.
I’ve also attended events at the Senedd to promote awareness amongst our legislators in the Welsh Assembly and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of World Ovarian Cancer Day, when we handed out white roses on May 8th at Cardiff Central Station. It’s inspiring to bring the message to so many people and uplifting to see the joy a flower gives to someone.What's been your highlight of volunteering at OCA so far?
The Walk in her Name event is so close to my heart. Ovarian cancer has taken my sister Lesley, and has impacted the lives of many other friends. Lesley was so full of life, loved people and was very supportive of others. The event we run has become a social event with music and large crowds; it celebrates Lesley and her encompassing nature by also remembering others who have been affected by cancer.
Another special day for me was visiting the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre in London, alongside mine and Lesley’s eldest sister and Lesley’s daughter. We got to visit the laboratory, see where the money raised is spent in research and got to see Lesley’s name on the wall of remembrance. It was an honour for all of us to know that we, in memory of Lesley had been able to support ongoing research and have kept her fight and determination to make a difference going.