January 2021: When Elaine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer it was a shock to her and her loved ones. A healthy and active woman, she barely showed any symptoms. Now, her close friend Libby has organised New Year's Eve walks in Elaine's memory, on what would have been her 63rd birthday, to raise money and awareness of the disease. This is Elaine’s story, shared by her friend Libby.
Ovarian cancer is a brutal predator. I am supporting Ovarian Cancer Action as I think it is about time that this ‘silent killer’ was outed from its hiding place in the shadows.
With few, if any, discernible symptoms and a lack of accessible, reliable testing, this form of cancer lurks undetected, ready to claim its next unsuspecting female victim.
My dear friend Elaine was one such victim. She was extremely health conscious, having regular check-ups, eating well, walking and cycling regularly. Her only symptom before she was diagnosed with Stage 4 in 2019, was the occasional upset stomach. On those few occasions, she assumed it was just a 24-hour bug. Nothing major. Nothing to worry about.
In January, her daughter suggested she get a blood test for IBS. 19 tough months later, she died aged 63, having had chemo, a hysterectomy, more chemo, until the options ran out. Whatever could be done to postpone the cancer’s progress, was done. Between being told there was nothing more they could do and her death were just seven all too short days.
We had been hoping for around 7 weeks, maybe 12. Might she see Christmas? Sadly not.
It would have been her 63rd birthday on New Year’s Eve. Usually a time of year for celebrations and places to go. But this years Covid-19 means New Year’s Eve parties won’t be happening. So this New Year's Eve we'll be celebrating her birthday in a more ‘Elaine relevant’ way. Her husband, her two daughters, and around 30 of her closest friends will be taking part in walks that remind them of Elaine in their local areas, or a walk they once did with Elaine. And whilst doing so we will be raising money for Ovarian Cancer Action.
The walk we are taking in her memory, is like many things this year - closer to home. By walking in our local areas we will be walking in the footsteps of journeys we have had with Elaine.
"As we walk, we will all be celebrating Elaine’s love of life."Libby
It will be the start of our Elaine inspired fund raising journey. It’s too late now to help Elaine, so our efforts will be for our daughters, for women everywhere, and the men they leave behind.
Not sure yet where our efforts will take us in 2021. It depends on how well my arthritic left knee holds up! Our original plan for New Year's Eve was to walk along the Seven Sisters Cliffs, Elaine's favourite walk, which we will do together when restrictions allow. Hopefully we can help fund the research which will help us get to earlier diagnosis, which in turn will enable more successful outcomes.
Update from Liv, Elaine's Daughter - 7th January 2021
With restrictions in place, the original plan couldn't take place. A few close friends and family traced the steps of mum's favourite walk along the Seven Sisters, whilst those that couldn’t travel marked the occasion with a local walk, in England, Brittany and even Australia! Even though we couldn't be together in person, we were in spirit to remember and celebrate mum and rally around a really important cause. It meant so much to us that so many were able to take part and donate, together we raised £1,700 for Ovarian Cancer Action.
We look forward to walking together when restrictions allow and taking part in more events throughout the year, raising awareness of a disease that is so often spotted too late and raising money to fund vital research for women everywhere.
If you would like to get involved in raising awareness for ovarian cancer, click here.