A Midlands support hub, specifically helping people affected by ovarian cancer, is being launched this week by Ovacome, enabling the national charity to build a community in the area and to provide vital services.
Attending the launch are local celebrities ex Eastenders star Nina Wadia and former Commonwealth discus thrower Kevin Brown, who also holds two vehicle pulling world records and has pledged to support Ovacome by fundraising through some new world record attempts in 2020.
The West Midlands hub only went live last autumn, after the charity won £49,420 of National Lottery funding from The People’s Projects, but it has already been making its presence felt in the region, where it plans to launch a support group in Coventry this spring.
Also during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this March it will be shining a light on the disease by illuminating Birmingham’s Old Joe bell tower in teal – the colour representing the disease – from March 2-4.
Ovarian cancer can be an isolating disease with those diagnosed less likely to meet others in their position than other more common cancers. By having the Dudley-based hub people affected by ovarian cancer have a central point to introduce themselves to others and to gain access to other support.
Ovacome’s newly-appointed regional hub support co-ordinator Laura Nott has already identified the need for the Coventry ovarian cancer support group, which she is planning to start running, alongside local clinical nurse specialists, in April.
“We are in the process of consulting with people locally to see how we can make the group as accessible as possible. It is likely to be in a non-hospital venue in central Coventry, perhaps in the evening so that people working through the day can come,” says Laura.
“Our main aim with the support group and the hub is to create a space for those affected by ovarian cancer to share experiences and offer each other encouragement, friendship, knowledge and understanding, while at the same time, with Ovacome’s contacts and experience, giving them access to expert advice on their health and wellbeing,” she says.
“One woman told me ‘It is so good to be able to just pop in and see you now that you are practically on my doorstep.’ She had recently become a member of Ovacome and was about to have surgery. I am so pleased to be able to offer such direct, accessible support to women, exactly when they need it,” says Laura.
Laura is supported by two local Ovacome ambassadors, retired businessman Richard Riley, who lost his wife Maxine to ovarian cancer, and Dot Swallow, who has been diagnosed with the disease and is the gynae support group leader at The White House cancer support centre in Dudley, where Ovacome’s hub is operating from.
Looking ahead Laura says she will start running a series of Ovacome at Work talks, raising awareness in the workplace, as well as working closely with community groups to host talks and support sessions.
Laura hopes as many people will attend the hub’s launch event as possible. “We are really excited to be able to invite our West Midlands ovarian cancer community – women, their friends and families and healthcare professionals – to celebrate the launch of our new support hub with an afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.”
If you are in the West Midlands and would like some support to help you manage a diagnosis of ovarian cancer or would like to attend the event, contact Laura on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Laura on 07586 899334.