Pauline, a Target Ovarian Cancer fundraiser, standing behind a table of homemade cakes

Pauline's story

After her diagnosis, Pauline shares how important she finds giving back through raising funds and awareness.

After finally getting diagnosed in A&E, Pauline shares how important she finds giving back, whether through raising awareness or through fundraising... 


I bake for change so I can return the favour. When I think about everyone who has taken care of me in the seven years since my diagnosis, I want to do something to give back. Plus, raising money is fun! 

Amazing support 

My daughter Tanya first mentioned Target Ovarian Cancer to me. I think you appealed to us in a more personal and intimate way than other charities. The support you’ve given has been brilliant. Just being able to pick up the phone if you've had a really bad day and know someone's going to be there is great. Sometimes it's easier to talk to somebody that's not close to you. I can't speak for everybody, but from my experience, they've been amazing.   

Diagnosis   

The two months before my diagnosis were almost worse than the eighteen months afterwards. I was just so ill – I couldn't even get downstairs. I saw two GPs, both of whom thought I had a blockage, so it was just laxative after laxative. I was bloated, looked about six months pregnant and had a lot of abdominal pain. Eventually I was rushed into A&E to my local hospital. They were horrified. They found tumours and I was then referred to the Royal Marsden cancer centre in south London.  

I was diagnosed with stage II high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Finding out wasn't a shock. In my mind I felt I had cancer, I just didn't know which kind. In a way, finding out it was ovarian cancer was almost a relief.   

I ended up having two lots of surgery, chemotherapy, and blood transfusions. Along with this I had a stoma, but 15 months later I was well enough and fortunate enough to have a stoma reversal.   

Giving something back

Having been through treatment, I realised that I wanted to do more, to give something back. We all need to act now to make sure the future is brighter for women with ovarian cancer.

I decided to get involved with fundraising. I've held a number of coffee mornings as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I think it’s fantastic that there is a specific month when we can all come together and make change – it's the perfect time to get involved with raising funds and awareness, because we have more of an impact together than any of us could on our own. 

As well as refreshments I organise stalls with plants, crafts, jewellery, books and bric-a-brac. We also have games like guess how many sweets in the jar or the weight of a cake, lucky dip, quizzes, and a raffle.

It can take a bit of time approaching local hairdressers, garden centres, sports centres, restaurants or florists who kindly donate vouchers or other super prizes for the raffle. I always try to get as many cakes baked as I can a few weeks ahead and put them in the freezer, so it's just a case of decorating the day before.

My house and garden are always full of Target Ovarian Cancer balloons and banners to help promote the charity. Plus there are always leaflets placed around to show people what their donations will be supporting. 

Rewarding

My friends and family have been so supportive. I think they enjoy it, but I’m sure they sometimes think, “here we go again!” The number of times my poor husband has walked into the kitchen, smelt a cake baking and said “I suppose that's not for me, is it!?” They understand why I’m doing it and they support me 100 per cent. 

I won't say it's not hard work sometimes, but it’s so rewarding when you see the work paying off, or how generous people can be. I know how much money is needed to fund a new piece of research, or provide a support call to someone who really needs it.

Yes, there’s the fun side of raising awareness and raising money, but there's also a reason we’re all doing it. It helps me to know that I can return the favour after everything that has been done to enable me to enjoy life for the past seven and a half years since diagnosis. And more importantly, to help other women in the future.


If you’ve been affected by this story and would like to speak to a specialist nurse, you can call our dedicated support line on 020 7923 5475 or contact us: support@targetovariancancer.org.uk. We're open from 9am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.