My mother died of ovarian cancer when she was 52 and the memories of what a horrible, wasting disease it is and just how much she suffered during the last months of her life, always stayed with me. So these memories acted as a motivation for me to try in some small way to help – and as I started volunteering at OCA in 2017, over 30 t after she died, it took me a long time to actually do something!What does your volunteer role involve?
I have carried out a variety of admin roles in the office in Camden Town and in the last few months I have been giving awareness talks about ovarian cancer to the staff of various organisations across the UK.
I have really enjoyed being involved in OCA’s campaign to raise awareness of the disease, and particularly its symptoms, as it is such a crucial element in the drive to improve survival rates from ovarian cancer. There is still much work to do in this area as around 80% of women cannot name the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer, but it is hugely rewarding area to be involved in.What’s been your highlight of volunteering at OCA so far?
Two highlights really:
1. Taking part in World Ovarian Cancer Day on 8 May. I was giving out roses with awareness tags at Kings Cross station along with hundreds of volunteers and staff around the UK – we gave out 33,000 roses (some of which were worn by MP’s in Parliament!) and to see the response and real success in raising awareness on this day was inspirational.
2. Some of the awareness talks I have given have been attended by 25-30 people who have been engaged, concerned, shocked and often angry about the high mortality rates and their own lack of knowledge about this disease. But they all leave with information that could help them, or family and friends, to recognise the symptoms in the future and hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis. This feeling of complementing all the brilliant work our charity is doing in the area of research into treatment of the disease and finding a screening tool, is really satisfying.
A long road remains to be travelled, but with the continued efforts of all staff and volunteers we can and will, eventually defeat this disease. As Shakespeare said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
We want to raise awareness of ovarian cancer with as many people as possible, and can do this by delivering a short presentation to your group, club, place of work, school or university. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.