Pauline, a woman who shared her story with Target Ovarian Cancer

Pauline's story

In 2014, Pauline was told she would have just three years to live. This year, she is marking 10 years on from that consultation.

I can remember the day I was told I had three to five years to live. It feels so good to be able to say sometimes they get it wrong. It was exactly this time 10 years ago that I noticed the symptoms. I really just wanted to die as it was such a horrific experience - I can't believe what has happened in that time and how glad I am that I didn't give up.  

Amazing support 

My daughter Tanya first mentioned Target Ovarian Cancer to me. I think the charity appealed to us in a more personal and intimate way than other charities. The support 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, Target Ovarian Cancer have been amazing.   


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, I 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 2 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'm so grateful that I've had the most amazing care teams at the Royal Marsden to give me the exact treatments to bring on all these years. It's thanks to them, and my family and friends, that I've had the strength to fight for my life.

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.

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

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's 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. 


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%. 

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.

This year Target Ovarian Cancer launched Elevenses to encourage everyone to get together at 11am on a day in March, and raise money. 

Elevenses is a fun way to bring friends together for tea and cake for an important reason. However large or small, getting involved with Elevenses will help the ultimate aim - to save more lives. 

Get friends to help bake some cakes and swap recipes. The hard work changes to lots of laughs and fun and every minute worthwhile when you know you are helping such a brilliant cause!

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 ten years since my diagnosis. And more importantly, to help other women in the future.

Pauline and her husband at the Ovarian Cancer Walk Run, smiling and waving at the camera (1).jpg

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: [email protected]. We're open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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