World Ovarian Cancer Day

World Ovarian Cancer Day 2020 white rose.png

OCA's white rose campaign

For the third year in a row, you've helped us raise awareness on World Ovarian Cancer Day (8th May). 

In 2018 and 2019, you helped us raise awareness on World Ovarian Cancer Day by handing out thousands of white roses across the UK. Each rose was tied with a symptoms information tag and a simple ask to share the rose and symptoms on social media. Together, we reached millions of people. Sadly due to lockdown, we couldn’t hand out roses this year, but with far fewer people going to their GP than usual it was more important than ever that we raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms. 

So we adapted our campaign to be completely digital and span the whole month of May. We asked you to create your own white rose in any way you liked, upload it to our online rose garden, and share on social media along with symptoms information. You did not disappoint! We've seen roses made of everything from knickers to mashed potato, and everything in between. but don't just take our word for it, check it out for yourself.

 Visit our rose garden 

How it all started 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 very different to reach people with this important information.

With the help of some 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 this online.

Female celebrities and influencers also lent their support by sharing photos of white rose bouquets with symptoms cards attached, kindly donated by OCA 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 1 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 WOCD, joining supporter Anna Szalay on the BBC Breakfast sofa. Anna spoke eloquently about her own experience of diagnosis, aged just 19 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.


We couldn’t have done it without you!


In 2019, 160 incredible volunteers across 25 UK locations braved the British weather and took to the streets to spread the word about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. We’re so grateful for their energy, enthusiasm and commitment to creating a better future for women. To find out about future volunteering opportunities, click here.

Spreading the word online

We were spotted handing out roses at locations across the UK from Bristol to Birmingam to Belfast — and everywhere in between! Our supporters helped us spread the word online by sharing photos of their roses on on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #WOCD. Our voices are louder together and it was incredible to see so many of you sharing potentially life-saving information with your friends and family.


World Ovarian Cancer Day is an amazing opportunity to shout as loud as we can about the disease and its symptoms 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.