The Gill Harler Gynae Fund
At Medisave it is important to us to support local charities and the Gill Harler Gynae Fund is a charity particularly close to our heart. The Gill Harler Fund’s aim is to increase awareness of the symptoms for Ovarian Cancer (also known as ‘The Silent Killer’ due to the subtly of its symptoms) and to help fast track diagnosis. Often patients can go undiagnosed for years and it’s much harder to treat, or can be terminal, if you aren’t diagnosed early. Unfortunately the ‘Smear Test’ cannot detect Ovarian Cancer and it can affect women of any age, including girls in their early teens. Gill launched the Fund to help other women spot symptoms and get earlier diagnosis after being diagnosed with late stage Ovarian Cancer in 2011, she explains her motivation on the Fund site gillharlerfund.org:
‘’You know, very soon after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer one thing becomes very clear. Far too many women are diagnosed at later stages of the disease when treatment is much more difficult. Many of them report that they simply ignored the symptoms assuming it was just part of getting older. Of those that did eventually see a doctor, some, like myself, find that they are assumed to have a less serious condition, in my case IBS. It doesn’t take much working out to realise that if more women were diagnosed earlier then more lives could be saved. If this fund and my efforts lead to just one woman being diagnosed earlier than she might otherwise have been, then when my time comes, I can rest easy in knowing I made a difference.”
Medisave Director Melissa Denton and Executive Director Graham Wright have known Gill for many years since they became friends with her son, and Mel and her brother Matt (Medisave Product Manager) were taught by Gill in Primary School. When Gill attended a Conscious Living Workshop that Mel was hosting they were reacquainted and Mel was touched by Gill’s story, she recalls ‘I was so inspired by her story and her charity to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer that I became determined to help.’ Mel’s dedication to the Fund is truly admirable. She has raised nearly £2000 with a charity evening with rock band Sway on February 26th 2016 where she bravely shaved off her beautiful locks and then a Family Fun Night on March 25th that was hosted by local celebrity Ed Hintze and with help from Paul Baker at the Rivieria Hotel who kindly offered the use of their function room at no charge. Whilst most women would be terrified at the thought of shaving their head Mel met this challenge eagerly, explaining on her Just Giving donation page:
‘‘Hair will grow back but health is to be cherished and anything to help Gill raise awareness and help other women to be aware of the symptoms of this nasty disease can only be a good thing.’’
The logo for the Gill Harler Gynae Fund is a Teal ribbon, (similar to that of Breast Cancer Awareness) and features three diamonds. These are to represent those who have passed, those who are fighting and those who are yet to be diagnosed.
The Fund is working closely with GPs, Nurses and other health professionals to help increase awareness and improve diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer and they have recently launched a ‘keep it in your bag’ card, these are small and easy to carry around and offer a quick reminder of the symptoms you should be looking out for. They have used the ‘ACT’ acronym to make these easier to remember. So here you go, these are the symptoms to watch out for:
These symptoms can be subtle and may seem vague, however it is consistent symptoms that don’t go away that you should particularly watch for and if you have any concern that these symptoms are unusual for you then it’s time to book an appointment with your GP or Practice Nurse.
Medisave will continue to support the Gill Harler Gynae Fund and help reduce the late diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer, we look forward to updating you on our next charity event. Please visit the Gill Harler website gillharlerfund.org for more information.
Use the hashtag #ACT on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share the ACT poster above to help us raise awareness of the symptoms of this horrible disease.