Shaniqua running in a London park taking on Run for Mum wearing her Target Ovarian Cancer running vest

Shaniqua’s motivation for fundraising 

Since her mum passed away from stage 3 ovarian cancer when she was 15, Shaniqua has spent the last decade raising awareness and much needed funds for Target Ovarian Cancer. She explains her favourite fundraisers to date and how she stays motivated.

My mum, Samantha Hayde was a young, vibrant, fun-loving person. She filled any room she entered with joy and was always making people laugh. She loved going out, spending time with her family and friends and had such zest and enthusiasm for life. People went to Samantha for counsel and advice – she always had the ability to make even the bleakest situations seem hopeful.  

It was that positive spirit that she held onto throughout her battle with ovarian cancer. In our family we always say that ‘if cancer had been a battle of the mind, Samantha would still be here today.'

A memorial table for Samantha with a photo of her, candles and flowers

Samantha was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in September 2008 at the age of 33. She had been experiencing a lot of stomach pain and it began to get very swollen. At the time it was diagnosed as fibroids. Sadly, she died just six months later at the age of 34 leaving three children under the age of 16, including me, and countless family and friends. 

She's deeply missed by all that knew her and occupies a special place in our hearts. We want to ensure that her death was not in vain and hope that by sharing her experience other women can be saved.

Since mum was diagnosed, my family and I have supported Target Ovarian Cancer to help raise awareness of the symptoms, fund better treatments and provide support for everyone affected by ovarian cancer. 

The start of our fundraising journey 

In 2010, my family and I invited someone from Target Ovarian Cancer to attend a memorial event for my mum. It was a chance for them to talk about ovarian cancer, the symptoms and what the charity does to help. We also had a bucket available so people could donate there and then – that was when our fundraising began.  

Since then, we've volunteered at bucket collections, supported Team Target at several London Marathons, and even completed a skydive in 2014 – which turned out to be one of my favourite events.

Shaniqua skydiving with her arms out the side

It was crazy for me as it’s not something that I would usually do.

I was so scared, but I kept thinking that my mum passed away at 34 and didn’t get to have an experience like it – that was all the motivation I needed. I did it for her.

It was a wonderful day, raising over £2,000, and the team from Target Ovarian Cancer were so supportive throughout. It’s definitely a special memory for all of us.  

Another fundraising event that has a special place in my heart is the Run For Mum that I did in 2022 with my best friend, Lorna. It fell on Mother’s Day, which is always difficult for me, so to be able to spend the day running alongside other people who are all somehow connected and understand meant a lot.  

Shaniqua and her friend at Run for Mum wearing their Target Ovarian Cancer tshirts

Raising awareness as well as funds 

In addition to fundraising, I believe that educating and raising awareness in my community is just as important. As a teacher, I’ve been able to discuss ovarian cancer with my students and their parents.

There are some great resources from Target Ovarian Cancer available online and I found that my students and their parents always end up wearing their Target Ovarian Cancer badges and wristbands with pride.  

At my mum’s memorial events we always have an area with resources raising awareness about ovarian cancer that can be shared and passed on to others.

My nan has even travelled to the House of Commons for a Target Ovarian event where she spoke to her local MP and others raising awareness of ovarian cancer - highlighting the need for better diagnosis and treatment.  
Ovarian cancer is still not discussed enough, and many GPs and healthcare professionals as well as the public are not aware of the symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness.

Those over the age of 50 do have a higher risk of ovarian cancer, but my mum was diagnosed at 33 so it can happen. She was also diagnosed at a later stage when survival is at its lowest.

This is why I continue to raise awareness and much needed funds. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did.  

Staying motivated and inspiring others 

My motivation is always my mum and women like her. Those who have been misdiagnosed or ignored before being diagnosed late.  

For 2024, I’m considering a half marathon, but I know I need to get back into the habit of running again first. I’ll definitely be joining the Team Target cheer squad at the next London Marathon though, it’s such an easy thing to do and is always a fun and inspiring day. If you haven’t joined us at a cheer point before then I’d definitely recommend it.  

To anyone looking to get more involved I would just say go for it and don’t be shy!

So many people will want to help you once they know what you're doing, the reason why you’re doing it and where the money is going. I’d keep on reminding people about your fundraising event with regular updates too.

What’s so lovely is that the Target Ovarian Cancer team are so helpful and supportive and have great advice and resources to help with fundraising - you’re not alone! 

I’ll keep going to make you proud, mum, sharing your incredible story and taking on new challenges. Always my hero. 

Shaniqua's running vest with the words 'for mum' printed on the back