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World Ovarian Cancer Day - past and future

World Ovarian Cancer Day 2020 white rose.png

World Ovarian Cancer Day takes place on 8th May. It's a day when we highlight the issue of ovarian cancer around the globe to highlight what we need to do to reach a world where no woman dies of ovarian cancer. Take a look at how we have marked this occasion in the last couple of years, and what's coming in 2021.

A white rose with a message in 2018

In 2018, we decided that traditional ways of raising awareness of ovarian cancer weren’t having as much impact as we wanted. We knew we needed to do something different to reach people with this important information.

With the help of volunteers we handed out 7,400 white roses around the UK to represent the 7,400 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year. Each rose had a tag tied to the stem with information about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and a request to photograph the rose and share online.

Female celebrities and influencers also lent their support by sharing photos of white rose bouquets with symptoms cards attached, kindly donated by our partner Bloom & Wild. They highlighted the common misconception that a smear test detects ovarian cancer and explained why symptom awareness is so important for women of all ages. Together they reached more than a million followers with this vital information.


Taking things to the next level in 2019

Following the previous year’s success, in 2019 we decided to go one stage further, recruiting volunteers from around the country to hand out 33,000 roses. Each rose served to represent a British woman living with the disease and act as a symbol of hope for a world without ovarian cancer.

Our CEO Cary Wakefield kicked off World Ovarian Cancer Day, joining supporter Anna Szalay on the BBC Breakfast sofa. 19 year old Anna spoke eloquently about her experience of ovarian cancer, and Cary explained why earlier diagnosis is so vital if we’re to see an improvement in survival rates in the UK.

Some incredible influencers again lent their support, including Hannah Witton and Maisie Hill. We also saw politicians (including Prime Minister Theresa May) in England, Scotland, and Wales uniting behind the campaign. They wore white roses and pledged their support for earlier diagnosis.


A year like no other - 2020

2020 was a year that no one could have planned for. We were determined to launch our third white rose campaign for World Ovarian Cancer Day, and that's exactly what we did, with a twist. As real life events were cancelled, we adapted our campaign to be completely digital and span the whole month of May. 

We asked you to create and share your own white roses, whether it was a drawing, origami, or knitting, alongside the symptoms of ovarian cancer to raise awareness. You did not disappoint! We saw roses made of everything from knickers to mashed potato, and everything in between.

The pictures of your creations became part of the UK’s largest digital rose garden. Take a look at some of the beautiful creations below.

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What's happening in 2021?

This year we're shaking things up. We're always working towards a world where no woman dies of ovarian cancer because it's the UK’s deadliest gynaecological disease and survival rates are shockingly low – lower than breast cancer survival rates were in the 1970s. 

Instead of getting angry, we’re getting inspired; inspired by the huge strides women have made through the breast cancer movement, energised by the scientific discoveries our researchers are making, and empowered by the thousands mobilising to take action. 

On World Ovarian Cancer Day (8th May) we'll be highlighting the impact of ovarian cancer in an eye catching and bold way across social media (with a little help from our friends...) With a woman dying of this disease every two hours in the UK, it's vital people take notice of the impact ovarian cancer is having on thousands of women and families across the UK, and what we're doing about it. 

Stay tuned!

Where do you come in?

We’re so grateful for all the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment you give us to create a better future for women. To find out about future volunteering opportunities, click here.

Spreading the word online
Help us spread the word by re-sharing our content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #WOCD, and if you don't already follow us today!

World Ovarian Cancer Day is an amazing opportunity to shout as loud as we can about the disease, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. All year round our scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Research Centre, The University of Oxford and beyond are working to find the next breakthrough in ovarian cancer research. Your donation will support the work they do each and every day. Donate now.

Don't forget to subscribe to our enewsletter to keep up to date with this campaign and all of Ovarian Cancer Action's latest news and events.