Andy Leslau: "At 80, she was boxing. She had a real zest for life and loved to give back."

29 June 2020
Anita Leslau Your Stories

Andy Leslau shares his family’s Step Challenge experience in memory of his mother, Anita Leslau.

“Mum shared her birthday, May 8th, with World Ovarian Cancer Day. She was an avid supporter of Ovarian Cancer Action, so, when the Step Challenge was announced, my brothers and I knew what we had to do.   

At the age of 72, Mum was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Her symptoms included a swollen stomach and pains. Her desire to live and her love of life kept her positive during treatment. Ever since her diagnosis in 2009, she supported Ovarian Cancer Action, determined to raise awareness of the disease. At 80, she was boxing. She had a real zest for life and loved to give back. 

Sadly when Mum’s cancer reared its head again in 2016, for the fourth time, it was stage 4. She had always hoped for a future where early diagnosis can take place for women and a drug to cure this dreadful disease could be found, which kills so many women.

"On the evening of May 8th, we raised a frozen glass of vodka to Mum, Mum’s favourite, remembering many of her happy birthdays and all the parties and fun times"

Andy Leslau

For all these reasons my brothers Nick, James, I and many of Mum’s friends all took part in the Walk in Her Name Step Challenge, yes, in celebration of Mum’s life, but knowing too that, on her birthday, she would have definitely asked us all to walk as opposed to  give her a birthday present! (We of course usually did both!)  Between Mum’s friends and family, we raised over £3,000. 

On the evening of May 8th, we raised a frozen glass of vodka to Mum, Mum’s favourite, remembering many of her happy birthdays and all the parties and fun times and reflecting too how, on May 14th, it would already have been two years since she died. Two great grand children she had not met. So sad.

Every year, 295,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer globally. Approximately half of these women will not survive beyond five years. Mum, we know, was very fortunate and we are very grateful for that. We walked 295,000 steps to raise funds for life-saving research that will help these women, and the next generation, survive.

If you can, do please join us in taking the steps necessary to help Ovarian Cancer Action continue its work. And, if you’re able to do your steps with a glass in your hand — it does not have to be vodka but frozen vodka is definitely good — you’ll be making her boys smile and very appreciative!”


If walking towards a world where women survive ovarian cancer sounds like a movement you want to be part of, you can sign up here.