"The walk had a really positive impact on the people left devastated by her loss"

23 January 2019
Gareth and Heidi

“Back in 2013, I was living with my fiancée Heidi in Paris, where we had thrown ourselves into planning our upcoming wedding. I’d been friends with her for almost fifteen years, however it was only in the last two years that we had been together as a couple. Heidi was the most incredible person I knew; she was there for everyone, to lend support and always made people laugh.

Although at the time we were caught up in planning our wedding together, in hindsight there were signs that she wasn’t well. However, it wasn’t until in January that she became very ill, and we took action. We had to visit a number of different hospitals and specialists before we were given a diagnosis. Even when she was finally diagnosed aged 36 with small cell ovarian cancer, we still didn’t understand anything about the disease and nothing could have prepared us for the severity of it.

Heidi’s diagnosis completely floored me. One moment, everything was fine and we were planning our future together, the next she was being rushed into emergency surgery. She tragically passed away just three months after her diagnosis. It was shattering.

Looking back now, I realise she did have some symptoms of ovarian cancer, but neither of us knew what they were. I felt helpless, and unequipped - I wish I could have told her to go to the doctors and get checked. There is a desperate need to raise the profile of ovarian cancer and its symptoms, not just for women but for their partners and children too.

Holding a Walk In Her Name to remember her made a lot of sense. Her sister, Mandy, organised the walk; it felt really important to her that she could do something in honour of Heidi.  We had over 50 friends and family join us from all over the country and we even arranged for Heidi’s friends in Melbourne and Dallas to walk at the same time across the time zones! 

People came from everywhere to walk in her memory. Everyone can take part by walking it in their own way – some people couldn’t make the actual walk itself, but they still raised money, wore a t-shirt and shared it on social media.

The walk had a really positive impact on the people left devastated by her loss, and it was really important to Heidi’s family and I. Every person marked it in their own way, but we were all there for one reason, which was to remember Heidi and the amazing person that she was.”

Walk In Her Name is a chance to remember loved ones lost to ovarian cancer and to celebrate the women living with the disease. Find out how you can walk it your way in 2019.