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"A whole month walking and talking about ovarian cancer"

20 April 2020


Scientist Dr Caoimhe Nic an tSaoir challenged herself to walk 165km over the course of a month to raise public awareness of ovarian cancer and to help fund vital research at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and beyond.

“On 31st March 2018, the last day of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, I took the final steps of my month-long 165km walk. I had chosen the distance to represent the number of women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Northern Ireland each year.

With a background in cancer research, I wanted to do something to highlight why supporting scientific research is crucial to making progress.

I’ve seen first-hand how important both medical research and public awareness are in tackling ovarian cancer, having done my PhD on BRCA1. When faulty, this gene can significantly increase a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer.

This walking challenge was a chance to raise awareness about the disease, the symptoms to look for (the best outcomes for treating the disease are associated with earlier detection and diagnosis) and to share some of the incredible work that scientists are doing to improve survival.

Every day I shared a new fact about ovarian cancer, linking a detail of my walk to a specific statistic about the disease. For example, after walking 7km one day, I posted about seven key ovarian cancer symptoms to look out for. With this, I was able to build up ovarian cancer awareness among my friends and family with each kilometre I travelled.

"The Walk In Her Name Step Challenge is an opportunity to increase awareness of the disease while raising money to drive forward research."

Dr Caoimhe Nic an tSaoir

Every year, 295,000 women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The disease is difficult to detect early and complicated to treat, meaning half of these women will not survive beyond five years. That’s why Ovarian Cancer Action have launched the Walk In Her Name Step Challenge, encouraging people to walk 295,000 steps in May. It’s an opportunity to increase awareness of the disease while raising money to drive forward research.

For me, doing something on a daily basis instead of doing one walk was a great way to re-enforce awareness. I thought - I’m going to spend a whole month walking and talking about ovarian cancer, the incredible research that’s happening, and sharing where people can find more information.

I am so grateful to everyone who donated. Every bit helps organisations and researchers to do their vital work and to improve outcomes for women living with the disease.”

Register for our Step Challenge and take 295,000 steps – one for every woman diagnosed with the disease each year. Walk, run, dance or jump your steps during the month of May and together we can fund life-saving research. Take action with us and transform the lives of women today and for generations to come.

Take 295,000 steps, raise £295, move research forwards.