Meet our volunteers: Suzie, Deb & Florence

28 May 2019

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!

Suzie Aries

Suzie volunteer
What motivated you to volunteer at OCA?

My own fight with ovarian cancer. I know it's too late for me in terms of knowing symptoms - gosh I wish I had known them! But it’s not too late for other people to know them and be aware of their bodies so we can ensure that less people have to go through what I am going through! 

What does your volunteer role involve?

I have been a Voice for OCA so have been involved in campaigns to raise awareness of the symptoms and also raise money to help research into a new early detection tool. Hopefully my story can inspire people to help towards a change!

What's been your highlight of volunteering at OCA so far?

Handing out the white roses was such a lovely experience. So many supportive people. Some aware of ovarian cancer, other less aware. Being able to use my knowledge and experience to educate other people made me feel great knowing it could help other people like me. 

Deb Tanner

Deb Tanner

What motivated you to volunteer at OCA?

If memory serves me (and, thanks to chemo brain, it doesn't always!), having volunteered with Macmillan and Cancer Research UK, and having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I wanted to get involved with a smaller cancer charity that was actively supporting people like me, so I signed up as a Voice. What keeps me volunteering are the truly lovely people who work at OCA and who genuinely care about supporting people like me.

What does your volunteer role involve?

The role has varied over time - I've done office admin, helped out at events, done research and, most recently, have worked on a really interesting discrete project looking at events and who takes part in them. To be honest, I'm just happy to muck in where needed, (as long as it doesn't involve standing around for too long!).

What's been your highlight of volunteering at OCA so far?

Generally spending time with probably the nicest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting in a work environment. And the opportunity to use my brain usefully in retirement.

Florence Wilks

Florence WOCD

What motivated you to volunteer at OCA?

I went to a talk at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre at Hammersmith Hospital and thought this is the hospital where I want to be treated (I’d had surgery and two rounds of chemo at The Royal Marsden). I also wanted to get involved and raise money for the Research Centre. Nine years later I’ve raised over £41K. It feels good to give back. More money means more research and better outcomes for women in similar situations.

What does your volunteer role involve? 

My role is very varied and has involved many different things over the years and I'm glad that I have been able to use my own experience to help others. I do symptom awareness presentations and campaigning, meet with other women with the disease, fundraise, do media work and have been involved in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month campaigns. I have also been involved in talks at pharmaceutical companies, reviewed materials for cancer support, collaborated with scientists at The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre in a patient role and shared my journey as patient rep with NICE. I have even been involved with several meetings at the House of Commons. 

What's your highlight of volunteering at OCA so far? 

So many things. The fundraising and raising awareness, getting symptom awareness across to as many people as possible. If through my volunteering I can prevent one other woman going through the journey I’ve been through, then job done.