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WI members pass resolution to increase awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms

16 July 2021

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200,000 members of the Women’s Institute will mobilise and campaign for better awareness amongst those at risk of ovarian cancer and health professionals.

Kathy Heathcote, from Kitchen Dancers WI in Hampshire was the WI member who initially proposed this resolution. It was seconded by Ruby Adler, member of Sotonettes WI, influencer and star of E4’s Made in Chelsea, who is also a passionate campaigner on this issue.

Kathy was inspired to write the resolution after the loss of her daughter-in-law Vicky Jacobs to ovarian cancer. Whilst undergoing treatment, Vicky poured her energy into campaigning to improve survival for women with ovarian cancer. As a Managing Director of a London advertising agency, Vicky helped create our ‘I Will Survive’ – poignantly released on the day she died. 

Kathy said: “I had no idea when I started writing this resolution at the beginning of 2020 that 35% of women are worried about wasting a healthcare professional’s time or that the UK outcomes for ovarian cancer are so much lower than comparable countries. This is not right. We needed this resolution to be passed. I’d like to thank everyone who made this happen.” 

Cary Wakefield, Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “UK-wide symptom awareness has a vital role to play in our ambition to improve ovarian cancer survival. The WI has a legacy of affecting long-lasting and meaningful change, and we are thrilled to be working together. Collectively we can help both women today and for generations to come.” 

The resolution was passed by WI members with a majority of 99.48%. The overwhelming majority indicates the clear need for this vital campaign. The resolution is as follows:

A call to increase awareness of the subtle signs of ovarian cancer

Every two hours in the UK someone dies of ovarian cancer. Making sure GPs and the public know what to look for will not only ensure the early detection and treatment of this disease, but transform lives today and for generations to come. NFWI calls on WI members everywhere to help increase awareness of the subtle signs of ovarian cancer.

If you’re a member of the WI, download your campaign brief here.