In a period of just a couple months, Douglas’ wife, Gillian, deteriorated rapidly. She had been in good health not long before she was sadly diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer and later passed away.
Now, Douglas is sharing her story and how he is keeping her memory alive.
“We were out running with our dog when my wife Gillian Lamb started feeling a bit bloated. Not thinking much of it, she put this down to mild Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and anxiety over our son moving to university in London.
Gillian’s symptoms soon got worse, but the GP referred her very quickly for tests. She couldn’t walk and was soon diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in summer 2021. Her symptoms had started just six weeks before.
The speed of progression from healthy to a bit bloated, to struggling to walk any distance because of fluid retention - to the cancer diagnosis - was frightening. It all happened so quickly.
“The rapid progression of her ovarian cancer was the driver behind her passion about promoting awareness of the disease and symptoms. She did this at every opportunity.”Douglas
Gillian eventually succumbed to the disease on 2nd May 2023, just two years after her diagnosis.
"Amongst the many cards I received after Gillian’s death, there were two cards from her old school friends.
They explained that they had both visited their GPs and had an early diagnosis of cancer, because of her continual posts and messages to “get things checked”. Thankfully, as both friends have a very positive prognosis as the disease had been identified early. Gillian had helped to save their lives.
It was therefore a very easy decision to ask for donations at Gillian’s funeral for Ovarian Cancer Action.
My son, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Amy, also set up a Gofundme page to allow those not able to attend to donate and even set up QR codes to allow people to donate online at the funeral.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity of the donations received. Raising £5,600 for Ovarian Cancer Action was way beyond our expectations.
“I believe doing something positive in someone's memory is better than dwelling on the negative.”Douglas
For our close friends and family, supporting the charity is a way to remember Gillian and keep our memories of her alive. We’re also marking the positive way that she tackled the disease. She was determined to raise awareness and made the most of her time through experiences. Her "happy place" was our cottage on the Isle of Arran where she could have lots of peaceful walks and an occasional swim in the sea. We will always remember Gillian.
After the funeral fundraising, three of Andrew’s friends decided to organise a sponsored golf day where they would play four rounds of golf continuously - raising another £515. The family was really touched by this gesture.
Gillian’s brother, James, is plotting a fundraising event in her memory. His plan is for a group to ride from Gillian’s childhood home in Elgin to our home in Strathaven, arriving on the anniversary of her death.
I would definitely recommend doing something like this to others in a similar situation. It may not work for everyone but I believe doing something positive in someone's memory is better than dwelling on the negative.
Generally we are all coping OK. It will take time to adjust to our circumstances but keeping busy definitely helps. We know she was lucky - if that is the right word - in that she received outstanding care and coped extremely well with her treatment.
I think Gillian’s message to anyone reading this would be to keep spreading the word and to get any symptoms checked by your GP.”
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