A DORSET-based women’s cancer charity is launching a One Million 5p Challenge at the start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
GO Girls wants to raise £50,000 to support the funding of five awareness campaigns to educate women about the five gynaecological cancers: ovarian, cervical, endometrial, vulval and vaginal.
The One Million 5p Challenge asks supporters to save an old bottle and fill it with five pence pieces. Labels can then be downloaded from the Go Girls website at www.gogirlssupport.org/5p-challenge and after you’ve filled the bottle you can send the funds to Go Girls.
Jen Barron, head of strategy for GO Girls, said: “This is something everyone can get involved in – we hope old and young alike will take part. A 500ml bottle will take approximately £30 worth of five pence pieces, so as soon as you have filled one bottle, you can start again – it’s that simple!”
The launch of the campaign coincides with the start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, during which GO Girls is asking all women to remember the simple acronym ABC – A for abdominal pain, B for bloating and disturbed bowels, and C for can’t eat much and feeling full.
Beth Gillan, aged 43, from Lyme Regis, was recently diagnosed with a low grade form of ovarian cancer. She never thought that she would have been one of the 1 in 50 women that would be diagnosed with an ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
Beth commented: “If if I had been aware of my ABCs, I would have gone to the doctors sooner. It was the last thing I had ever thought of – it was devastating for me and my family.”
Beth, however, counts herself lucky. When she did visit her GP he referred her for tests quickly – a CA125 blood test and an ultrasound scan.
“I know many women struggle to get off the starting blocks with their GPs, as we know diagnosis is often late but my GP was right on the ball,” she said.
“I would encourage all women to talk about their bodies and have a greater understanding of what is normal and what is not. We must empower the next generation – I have two daughters and I want them to know their ABC.”
Ovarian cancer mostly affects women over the age of 50 but more than 1,000 younger women each year also develop ovarian cancers. The cause of the disease is still not known, but women who have inherited the faulty BRCA genes 1 and 2 are at greater risk – these genes can be inherited from either your mother or father.
Beth, who now runs Nanny Thornton’s Teas, has made a good recovery from her cancer treatment.
She added: “It was not an easy road; it made me re-think my life totally. I was so grateful for the support I had from the GO Girls – they really did help me at an incredibly bleak time and continue to be there for me as I need them.”
Hilary Maxwell, chairman of GO Girls said: “Our ABC campaign and simple animation highlights the key symptoms of ovarian cancer. With an expected 15% rise in cases by 2035, it’s so important we highlight key symptoms so women will be diagnosed sooner.”
For more information about GO Girls visit www.gogirlssupport.org