Four women and a man enjoying a birthday party fundraiser

Celebrating sixty

Hilary was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013, and has since worked hard to improve the lives of women with ovarian cancer. This year, she decided to do something a bit different...


The diagnosis was such a shock: you just don’t know what to think. You don’t see it coming. I was a completely shocked, horrified patient. I was terrified and didn’t know where to turn.

Things initially looked very grim: I was told I’d be lucky to live a year, so my life and my family just fell apart for a while. 

At that point, I never expected to reach 60. Thankfully, with excellent NHS care and fantastic support from all my lovely family and friends, I’m still very much alive and kicking, and living life to the full.


Since my diagnosis I’ve had wonderful advice and support from Target Ovarian Cancer. You can feel very lost and alone when you are diagnosed. Even though I used to be a doctor I’m human like everyone else and have the same needs and fears.

Target Ovarian Cancer really do involve the patients in a really positive way, which I thought was great. They’re also doing a lot to increase awareness among GPs. Before I was diagnosed I completed the GP online learning modules which Target Ovarian Cancer introduced. Over half of GPs have done it now, which might not sound like a lot but it adds up to thousands of doctors.

Through the charity I have also made many good friends with ovarian cancer. We have laughed and cried our way together through surgery, chemotherapy and the inevitable highs and lows of good and bad news along the way. Sadly I have also lost far too many of these dear friends to this devastating disease. 

Making my birthday count

This year, I decided to raise funds for Target Ovarian Cancer to help support other women with ovarian cancer. I threw a party to celebrate my 60th birthday at a local brewery (a proper ‘p*ss-up in a brewery’!) with my family and friends, and to thank them for all the support they've given me since diagnosis. I asked if party guests would consider making a small donation to the charity instead of birthday gifts.

We had a wonderful evening at the party (my first since I was about 6) and it was great fun to catch up with friends and family from far and wide. I was totally blown away by people’s generosity and we raised an amazing total of £1,312.06 for Target Ovarian Cancer. 

Looking forward

If I could have had a birthday wish, it would be for a future where ovarian cancer could be either prevented or diagnosed early enough to be cured with more effective treatments available for all women. Hopefully this money will go a small way towards making that happen.