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Lucky number 13

02 December 2020

Lillian Quote.jpg

Lillian, and two more generations of women in her family, have been affected by cancer. Determined to prevent other women from a similar experience, her son Daniel has set up an online clothing shop, and Lillian has her own jewellery shop, that both donate proceeds towards life saving cancer research. 

Five years ago I was diagnosed with uterine and lung cancer. My grandmother, Olive, died of ovarian cancer, and my mother Jean died of breast cancer. Three generations of women afflicted with this disease. It is for this reason that our family, who all went through this trauma and challenge with me, want to help as many women as possible and prevent other families suffering in the same way.

My wonderful oncologist, Dr Jon Krell, is the lead researcher for a Personalised Genetic Risk estimate for cancer screening and prevention of breast and ovarian cancer. His research is funded by Ovarian Cancer Action. He has cared for me for the last five years. As a family, we feel so indebted to him that my son Daniel set up an online casual-wear merchandise shop, 13 Shop, to help sponsor the risk and prevention side of the research with which Jon is involved in. 

"We would love women to have this free-of-charge blood test and consultation, which will enable them to learn their risk and help prevent them getting this awful disease'


Lillian's sons Daniel and Matthew, say; “Throughout her treatment mum kept on seeing the number 13, which was her late mother’s lucky number. It was as if she wanted to let her know she was there. She’d go to the theatre and sit on seat 13, driving in for treatment the number 13 bus would pass on both sides of the road. I could name hundreds of examples. As a family we wanted to help Jon and his stellar research that he has been conducting in conjunction with Ovarian Cancer Action. We are so grateful for his care, dedication and ‘out of the box’ thinking. In the same way, we wanted to do something slightly ‘left-field’ by way of fundraising activities. We came up with the idea of selling bespoke T-shirts which evolved into an entire clothing range. The core thread is the number 13 which has significance for us all.”

Lillian's husband Neil said; “As a husband, wife, child, or indeed any close relative of a cancer sufferer, all you can really do is to provide as much love and support as possible to your loved one whilst they are going through that most difficult of times. When, as in Lillian’s case, they have experienced that battle, and then become determined to help others to protect themselves against that same terrible disease, then you have an obligation to provide them with as much – and maybe even more – support and encouragement in their campaign. This is what we, as Lillian’s close family, will try to do.”

Now, I am on gene targeted chemo treatment, and thank goodness doing very well. I am a keen tennis player; it’s playing that gives me hope. Recently I received my highest ever world ranking, which is delightfully, 13. 

Our logo on the 13 Shop clothing reads; ‘Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.’ Here is that opportunity to save women’s lives.

My wish for the future is that through research we can eradicate this disease completely or detect it very early by being vigilant and aware of the symptoms.

What’s yours?