Four ovarian cancer survivors have joined forces to front a new campaign to raise much-needed funds for ovarian cancer, which still remains Australia’s deadliest female cancer with a 48% five year survival rate.
Fashion retailer Black Pepper will feature the four women in a campaign across their eighty stores including their store windows during February 2022 to coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The campaign showcases the four women modelling Black Pepper clothing including a specially designed scarf, with a portion of sales going to Ovarian Cancer Australia. The campaign aims to raise $100,000 funds to support women with ovarian cancer throughout their diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
COVID has made things worse
Ovarian Cancer Australia CEO Jane Hill said that the funds raised through the partnership will help to ease the ongoing toll that ovarian cancer has on women impacted by the disease, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
‘Whilst the initial impact of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer is devastating, it’s not well documented that 70% of women diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer will have a recurrence within three years,’ she said.
‘This creates a number of psycho-social issues for diagnosed women, including depression, anxiety, relationship and sexuality issues.
‘The impacts of COVID have also been particularly tough for women dealing with ovarian cancer. We’ve experienced a 70% increase to our Ovarian Cancer Helpline during the pandemic, suggesting that diagnosed women have needed extra support to navigate their way through such a difficult time,’ she said.
The partnership with Black Pepper will help to ensure that more women with ovarian cancer will be supported by an Ovarian Cancer Support Nurse, and have access to other services such as social workers, exercise physiologists and psycho-sexual counselling.
Getting through a dark time
One of the women featured in the campaign, Jan, is now in remission but says her initial diagnosis with ovarian cancer was a very dark time.’
‘In an instant, the world as I knew it had forever changed. Suddenly I was part of a parallel universe where everyone else had a future and I had none and I felt totally alienated,’ she said.
48 year old Jenn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019, but is now in remission and has returned to work as an ambulance officer, on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said, ‘I was unwell for six months before I was finally diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and by that time it had spread to my lymph nodes.
‘Women are strong, we’ve got responsibilities and we’re often overstretched and have lots of things we’re juggling, so we often put our health last.
‘We also don’t want to be drama queens so we downplay our symptoms and the last thing we want to feel, when we go to our GP and explain our symptoms, is to feel disregarded or foolish.’
Take yourself seriously
Jen said, ‘What I want to get out there to women is, if you are having any symptoms, take yourself seriously. Don’t second guess yourself and make sure you find out what’s wrong.’
Black Pepper will donate $10 from the sale of every scarf and a specially designed nightie to Ovarian Cancer Australia, aiming to raise $100,000. The cotton scarf will retail for $29.99, and the nightie for $79.99. Pens and ribbons will also be sold in-store during February which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Funds raised will go to Ovarian Cancer Australia to assist in the delivery of evidence based and accessible information free of charge to Australians impacted by ovarian cancer including the Teal Support Program, a free telehealth outreach program supporting women with ovarian cancer throughout their diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
The scarf and nightie will be available to shop online via www.blackpepper.com.au and in stores nationally during February.
Ensuring no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone
Ovarian Cancer Australia is an independent national organisation that takes action for people affected by ovarian cancer. It was founded in 2001 by a group of people who had been affected by ovarian cancer, either themselves or through someone they loved.
Ovarian Cancer Australia provides support for women and their families, raises community awareness of ovarian cancer, advocates for improved services for women and promotes and funds research.
Jan, 70s, was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in 2008. The cancer returned in 2010, 2012, and 2013, however Jan has been in remission for the past eight years.
Of being featured in the Black Pepper campaign, Jan says, ‘If it meant six women got checked early when it was easily cured, then that would be a great result.’
Jane, 66, was diagnosed in 2010 with high grade Ovarian Cancer and today works as an Ovarian Cancer advocate and Ovarian Cancer Consumer Research Panellist.
Being featured in the Black Pepper campaign gave Jane the opportunity to be pampered and feel special.
‘I really appreciate the opportunity, feeling special, getting dressed up and fussed over. We all need to remember to be kind to ourselves,’ she said.
Jenn, 48, is a mum to a young son, was diagnosed with high grade ovarian cancer in December 2019.
Now in remission, Jenn said of the Black Pepper Ovarian Cancer Australia campaign, ‘It’s nice to have my story validated and acknowledged.’
Dawn, 62, is a diversional therapist and a vocational teacher, is a mother of two and a grandmother of five. She was diagnosed in March 2019 with Stage IV ovarian cancer.
Dawn says she wants to help bring awareness to ovarian cancer. ‘Everyone is doing a great job now but we just need more. We need to get it out into the rural areas and the GPs,’ she said.