People

Adam Rosenthal
Medical Advisory Board Member
Adam Rosenthal
Medical Advisory Board Member
Adam Rosenthal qualified from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1992 and undertook general Obstetrics and Gynaecology training in London. In 2008, he completed three years' training in gynaecological oncology and minimal access surgery at University College Hospital. Whilst there, he helped set up Phase Two of the UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (UKFOCSS). Since 2010, he has been Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist and Senior Lecturer at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital/Barts Cancer Insititute. He has published extensively on ovarian cancer screening and the molecular biology of gynaecological cancer, in journals including the Lancet, the Journal of Clinical Oncology and the British Journal of Cancer. He is the gynaecological oncology representative on the UK Cancer Genetics Group Steering Committee and a medical advisor to Ovacome.
Adrian Dickinson
Patron
Adrian Dickinson
Patron
Adrian, husband of Sarah, Ovacome's founder, has been involved in the charity since it's inception. His first role was making tea for the Committee, but as Sarah's disease progressed, he took on a more active role as Secretary to Ovacome. In this capacity, he wrote the very first website, though this is now managed by Jatech. Adrian's main contribution to the Ovacome is in the area of Strategy and building a consensus around the competing demands on Ovacome's modest resources.
Anna Hudson
Support Service Manager
Anna Hudson
Support Service Manager
I started working in healthcare in 1999 as a physiotherapy assistant in a hospice. This experience sparked my enduring interest in cancer and palliative care. I went on to train as an occupational therapist, working mainly in cancer care and palliative care, within hospitals and at another hospice.  I then changed roles to staff a busy cancer Help Centre, which I later managed. I am pleased to be contributing to the excellent work of Ovacome through supporting people affected by ovarian cancer.  If there is anything you would like to talk through, please call the Freephone 0800 008 7054 10am-5pm Monday-Friday or email support@ovacome.org.uk
Cathy Hughes
Chair of Ovacome
Cathy Hughes
Chair of Ovacome
I was delighted to be appointed Chair of Ovacome in May 2014. I am a registered nurse and have worked in cancer care for over 25 years. After qualifying in North Wales in the mid 1980s, I started my career focusing on surgery and gynaecology. I went off to work in Australia and, after six months in high dependency surgery, I transferred to a gynaecology unit that specialised in the care of women with gynaecological cancer. Coming from a district general hospital to a cancer centre opened my eyes to the differences in care and treatment when specialist services are concentrated and the volume of patients allows expertise and support services to develop. When I returned to the UK in 1989, I was appointed as one of the first clinical nurse specialists (CNS) in gynaecological cancer in the country. I worked at a specialist service at the Samaritan Hospital for Women that later combined with St Mary’s and the Hammersmith Hospitals as part of Imperial Healthcare in London. I worked in a great team that really cared about their patients and delivering high quality care; pushing the boundaries to improve treatments and training many of the specialists that are working around the country. I was a founder member of the National Forum of Gynaecological Oncology Nurses (NFGON). I first heard of Ovacome in 1996 when I read Sarah Dickinson’s article in Good Housekeeping. Since then I have seen Ovacome grow, and support thousands of women, their partners, families and friends. I even attended a very early AGM and won a magnificent cake in the raffle. I left Imperial to work for the West London Cancer Research Network and then went back into clinical care at the Royal Marsden Hospital, where I was again surrounded by a brilliant team, many of who are world leaders in their field. I have also held national posts in cancer patient safety, at the National Patient Safety Agency and cancer survivorship for Macmillan Cancer Support. I continue to support the RCN, commenting on issues around gynaecological cancer for NICE and other organisations. I am the RCN representative and vice chair of the Management Board at the National Collaborating Centre for Cancer which develops cancer guideline for NICE. I was a member of the Guideline Development Group for the recognition and initial management of ovarian cancer NICE guideline (CG122) and also for the ovarian cancer Quality Standards. And so I would now like to stand for chair, knowing that Noëline would support me in the position. I would hope to continue to support Louise our chief executive and the team in achieving their goals and objectives. I would hope to adequately support the board, directing policy and strategy and implementing board decisions. My main aim is to be responsive to the members of Ovacome and to ensure that our goals and objectives are never far from the needs of our members. I am married with two grown up children and one very beautiful grandaughter. I live in West London with my husband, daughter, dog and three cats. I love reading, lots of crime but will also read just about any award winner, I love meeting up with friends, doing the garden and walking the dog. I have not had ovarian cancer and would not pretend that I have an understanding of what that feels like. But I have had the privilege of meeting many women with the disease and being a part of their story. I feel that I have the time and energy, as well as the skills, to be able to contribute to the support of women with ovarian cancer across the UK
Georgina
Ovacome member
Georgina
Ovacome member
During the months leading up to my ovarian cancer diagnosis I remember feeling incredibly tired and found I was putting on a bit of weight, but I put that down to my age and the fact that it was Christmas and I was eating a bit more than usual. But then my tummy started to swell up quite rapidly and I knew something must be wrong. I went to see my GP, who took one look at my stomach - I actually looked several months pregnant - and said his suspicion was that I either had liver or ovarian cancer. I was then referred to the same consultant who'd treated my breast cancer and saw him just two days later. They did tests and I was told I had stage 2 ovarian cancer, so they'd caught it fairly early on. I had a total hysterectomy and although the surgeon said as far as he could see all the tumour had been removed and it didn't appear to have spread anywhere else, I was given a 6 month course of chemotherapy just to be on the safe side. "For me, having a positive mental attitude throughout my illness was key – I wouldn't let it defeat me." The chemo was the worse bit as it made me so sick that I had to spend 2-3 days in hospital each time, I was so unwell. I also found the drugs they gave me to try and relieve the sickness gave me other side effects like constipation and mouth ulcers. I'd heard that acupuncture can sometimes help with chemo side effects so thought I'd give it a go. The results were amazing - by my fourth chemo session the sickness had dramatically improved and by the final treatment I wasn't sick at all. That really helped me to get through it. I was so lucky my cancer was diagnosed early, and that I did have the symptom of stomach swelling, which not everyone gets. I'm now clear of ovarian cancer and don't need any more treatment - I just have a yearly CA125 blood test which can detect the proteins produced by ovarian cancer cells - and each year it comes back normal. For me, having a positive mental attitude throughout my illness was key - I wouldn't let it defeat me. It is hard and the treatment is unpleasant, but I'd say to other women don't be frightened to ask lots of questions - knowing what you're dealing with is far less scary than imagining all kinds of things in ignorance. Once you know the facts, you can be much more practical and positive about your illness. And I'm living proof that you can come out the other side.
Gillian
Ovacome member
Gillian
Ovacome member
I'd been having some indigestion-like symptoms for some months and it had got quite bad so my doctor referred me for a colonoscopy to find out what the problem could be. They found nothing wrong. I'd had a hysterectomy years before, so no-one thought it could be ovarian cancer. "I remember saying to my husband and the surgeon when we were told it was ovarian cancer 'we can't go back to yesterday, so let's just get on with treating it and look forwards" In June 2000, just a couple of weeks after the colonoscopy, we were in our motorhome on our way to Ireland for a holiday when I woke up with the most horrific abdominal pain and was rushed to hospital as an emergency. The doctors thought I had a burst appendix but as an ex-nurse I didn't think it was this. I thought it was probably bowel cancer, as there is a history of cancer in our family. They prepared to do a laparotomy to remove my appendix, but when they felt my abdomen they found a huge mass so had to call in the consultant as it was late in the evening. It was ovarian cancer stage 3. The tumour had perforated. The surgeon removed as much of the tumour as he could at the time, and I then had a two-month course of chemotherapy (Carboplatin and Taxol) to shrink the rest of the tumour as much as possible. Support from my family, and especially my husband, helped enormously, but I think that what made the most difference was my positive attitude right from day one. I remember saying to my husband and the surgeon when we were told it was ovarian cancer 'we can't go back to yesterday, so let's just get on with treating it and look forwards'. They said they'd never met a cancer patient with such a positive, fighting attitude. I think it did help that I'd been a nurse for over 40 years and had seen people deal with all kinds of illnesses, but I can honestly say that I never felt sorry for myself. I was discharged from the hospital in 2008 and don't need any more ovarian cancer blood tests. I can do all the things I love still and my husband and I are often away in our motorhome. I know I'm lucky to have made a complete recovery. To anyone newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer I'd say don't feel sorry for yourself, it doesn't help. Try to stay positive and don't listen to anyone's horror stories about cancer - you don't need to know.
Jenny Agutter OBE
Patron
Jenny Agutter OBE
Patron
Ovacome is ever thankful for having the greatly admired British actor Jenny Agutter OBE as its patron. Jenny came across our charity when it was set up by Sarah Dickinson some 20 years ago, and she has been deeply involved with it ever since. This has been especially appreciated as Jenny has no personal link to ovarian cancer. She wanted to help after her son, who was at school at the time, told her about a girl in his class who had lost her mother to the disease. Despite her heavy workload, not least with her role as Sister Julienne in the BBC’s popular Call the Midwife drama, Jenny always goes out of her way to help Ovacome. She has been the reason on many occasions for Ovacome persuading the press to write about our charity, by agreeing to be interviewed herself. And you will have seen Jenny’s image on many a front cover of our newsletter, showing how she supports our awareness campaigns. We were delighted to hear that Jenny was honoured with an OBE for her tireless work for charitable services, in 2012. She said she accepted the award for all those working for good causes.
Juliet Morrison
PR representative for Ovacome
Juliet Morrison
PR representative for Ovacome
Juliet Morrison has been the PR representative for Ovacome for the past eight years and more recently the editor of its thrice-yearly newsletter. She has over 25 years experience as a journalist and originally became involved in the charity when her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Juliet was instrumental in coming up with the charity’s BEAT acronym of the main symptoms of the disease, which has been at the centre of awareness raising for Ovacome ever since. She has spearheaded a series of high-profile PR initiatives, including the successful #TellYourDaughter social media campaign that attracted support from celebrities such as Edwina Currie, Jenny Eclair, Michelle Heaton and Lorraine Kelly and was covered extensively across the national media. She lives in Brighton with her husband, two children and Scottie dogs.
Lee Priestly
Fundraising Manager
Lee Priestly
Fundraising Manager
Lee has worked within the arts for nearly 20 years, where she has fundraised to secure projects and has been involved in curating exhibitions, lecturing, researching, working on large public arts projects, curating film programmes, planning and arranging concerts. She graduated from East London University with a BA Hons 2:1 Visual Theories: Art and Film and a Masters from The Royal College of Art in Arts Administration: Curating and Commissioning Contemporary Art. She is thrilled to have joined Ovacome at the end of February: “I have had the privilege of getting to know the amazing people actively fundraising for our work. I have also been touched by the donations we have received since I started. We cannot thank you enough. “In the coming months I will be working hard to fundraise further. We have major projects that we will be developing over the coming 18 months: projects that will make a difference. We cannot thank you enough for supporting our valuable work, helping us to help as many women and their families as we can through our; support telephone line, online forum, raising awareness through working with MPs, our research at Birmingham University and our Survivors Teaching Students project.” Please do get in touch with Lee if you would like information about various ways to fundraise or to find out about our charity places for running, cycling, obstacle courses and challenges. 020 72996651
Lesley Sage
Trustee
Lesley Sage
Trustee
Lesley has many years experience involved in the management of learning and development in a fast-moving commercial environment, demanding voluntary work in one of England’s eight High Security prisons on the Independent Monitoring Board and also ovarian cancer which was diagnosed in May 2011.   During the rebuilding of life after a second major operation and dose-dense chemotherapy, she went to the London Marathon to support her son-in-law and there saw a runner in an Ovacome t-shirt. After attending the 2015 Members Day, she volunteered for STS and to be considered as a Trustee. She lives in South Lincolnshire, is married with two children and five grandchildren.  Hobbies include hill walking, bird watching, yoga, pilates, swimming, growing vegetables, cooking and more recently learning to spin and weave.
Louise Bayne
CEO
Louise Bayne
CEO
I have been honoured to work with Ovacome for nearly 15 years.  After training as a nurse in Bristol and working in Neonatal intensive care, I trained as a midwife.  Whilst on maternity leave I had a run in with ovarian cancer, and thanks to excellent care and fortunate pathology was able to make a full recovery.  After volunteering with the charity in its earliest years, I was delighted to be appointed as CEO.  My husband, a surgeon and two children are incredibly supportive of this busy and diverse role.  My dogs, bees and assorted wider family, patient and understanding. It has been and continues to be a mixed and varied role with huge ups and downs.  The members and clinical colleagues are a daily inspiration and I truly believe in Ovacome's value and role. Being able to combine a passion for women's health whilst working with such fantastic clients and fellow warriors makes me feel like the luckiest employee ever.
Penny
Ovacome Member
Penny
Ovacome Member
"Falling pregnant saved my life", Penny, a 37-year-old teacher from Northamptonshire and mum to Poppy, age 3, and Austin 2. It was during her son's cowboy-themed first birthday party in September 2008 that Penelope Lang spotted the first signs of the life-threatening ovarian cancer she was to spend the next six months battling. Seven weeks pregnant and with most of the guests still to arrive, Penelope, now 37, began to bleed. At first she dismissed it. "I'd bled before with my other two children (Poppy, age 3, and Austin 2) and everything was fine," says Penelope. "We carried on with the party, but when I was still bleeding on and off two days later, I knew that something was wrong and that I needed to see my GP." Penelope thought that she was having a miscarriage but the doctor suspected an ectopic pregnancy. It turned out to be much more serious. The GP referred her straight away to a gynaecological specialist at the Northampton General Hospital and four days later she was having key hole surgery to remove a tumour the size of a small orange on the outside of her right ovary. One week later she discovered that the tumour was cancerous and within 15 minutes of hearing this devastating news was signing forms to have a radical hysterectomy (which included removing both ovaries) in six days. The experience has taken its toll emotionally. "It felt so unreal and it has been such a blur and a roller coaster. At 36 I was still very young to have this cancer. I used to always think that cancer was something that happened to other people," says Penelope. Just over a year after Austin's party and cancer free, Penelope says that she has emerged as a more focused mum, who truly appreciates the time she has with her children, living each day with them to the full. The now 37-year-old Australian, who has lived on and off in Britain for 13 years, believes that if she had not fallen pregnant, then the disease would have become terminal. "I really had no obvious symptoms and I felt well and fit. If I hadn't been pregnant I dread to think what might have happened," she says. "Looking back, I suppose there was one sign that something was wrong: At five or six weeks pregnant my abdomen looked as if I was three months pregnant or having twins, but at the time I didn't think much about this. I now know that persistent bloating can be one of the signs of ovarian cancer." Seven months after finishing chemo Penelope is already rebuilding her life. She has taken up horse riding as a new hobby, has thrown herself back into amateur dramatics and into a parents' committee at Poppy's pre-school and she is planning to go back to work as a primary school teacher. "Every day I am getting more of the old me back," she says. "Poppy asks me when I will get my princess hair back, but I rather like the Annie Lennox look for now."
Pf. Lesley Fallowfield
Medical Advisory Board Member
Pf. Lesley Fallowfield
Medical Advisory Board Member
Lesley Fallowfield is Professor of Psycho-oncology at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex where she is Director of the Cancer Research UK Psychosocial Oncology Group. Professor Fallowfield originally trained as a nurse at Guy's Hospital London but then did a BSc in Experimental Psychology at Sussex. Research for her doctorate in psychophysics was completed at the Universities of Sussex and Cambridge. She was a senior lecturer in health psychology at the Royal London Medical College where she gained a career development fellowship and a major programme grant from the Cancer Research Campaign. In 1991 she became full-time Director of the Psychosocial Oncology Group. Professor Fallowfield was awarded the first European chair in Psycho-oncology from University College London in 1997. Her research interests are wide and include the measurement of quality of life in clinical trials of cancer therapy and the training of communication skills for health care professionals in cancer. She has published over 300 papers, and written or co-edited 3 books. She lectures and runs training workshops throughout the world in psychosocial oncology, quality of life assessment and communication skills.
Pf. Sean Kehoe
Head of the Ovacome Medical Advisory Board
Pf. Sean Kehoe
Head of the Ovacome Medical Advisory Board
Professor Sean Kehoe is a Fellow of St. Peters College Oxford and presently the President of the British Gynaecological Cancer Society. He qualified in Trinity College Dublin, and came to the UK in the 1990's to undertake research into ovarian cancer. After this he undertook training in Gynaecological Oncology. He is a Medical Advisor and Trustee of Ovacome. He works in Oxford, having developed the Oxford Gynaecological Cancer Centre which was formally established in 2005, and recently moved to a new purpose built hospital on the Churchill Hospital site in Headington. He has written many papers on cancer and pre-cancer and lectures regularly at National and International Meetings.
Pf. Usha Menon
Medical Advisory Board Member
Pf. Usha Menon
Medical Advisory Board Member
Usha Menon is Professor of Gynaecological Oncology and Head of Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, at the department of Women’s Cancer in the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London. She is Consultant Gynaecologist at University College Hospital, London and Honorary Senior Consultant, Tata Translational Cancer Research Centre, Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, India. The focus of Professor Menon’s research is risk prediction, screening and early detection of gynaecological malignancies particularly ovarian cancer. Her work includes the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) – one of the largest individual randomised control trial in the world; UK Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (UKFOCSS), the largest ovarian cancer screening study in the high-risk population, UK Ovarian Cancer Population Study (UKOPS­), a key contributor to the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and studies exploring symptoms and intervals to diagnosis of cancer such as International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership. A key achievement has been setting up of the trial biobanks with >500,000 samples with well annotated clinical data which has resulted in numerous international collaborations on cancer biomarker discovery and validation. Of recent, she has extended her research interests to include similar work in India at Tata Medical Center, Kolkata. She has to date over 210 publications. The research has attracted funding from Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, Department of Health and the Eve Appeal amounting to over £28 million. Her main clinical interest is management of women at risk of familial gynaecological cancer.
Ruth Grigg
Information and Volunteer Manager
Ruth Grigg
Information and Volunteer Manager
My job is to write Ovacome’s patient information, making sure it is up to date, balanced and reflects evidence based research. I also lead our innovative Survivors Teaching Students project which means I recruit volunteers to present their stories to medical and other clinical students – tomorrow’s doctors and clinicians - to promote earlier diagnosis. These two roles mean I meet a lot of Ovacome members which is a very enjoyable part of my work. My background is in health reporting, editing, campaigning and public relations in the charity sector, for trade unions and for the press. I have always had a strong interest in health, especially women’s health, and most of my work has reflected this. I came to Ovacome in 2008 so I have been a part of many dynamic changes within the charity and across the ovarian cancer sector. I look forward to all the women we work for having access to effective treatments and so living healthier lives.
Simon Chantrey
Treasurer
Simon Chantrey
Treasurer
“Following my wife’s death I had wanted to do something to help women with ovarian cancer and their families. I had been married to Susanna for 36 years and she had her 60th birthday in her last year, two and a half years after initial diagnosis.   “I had been talking about becoming a regional ovarian cancer coordinator (a ROCC) for the charity, but at an induction meeting Noëline, who was Ovacome’s chair at the time, made a beeline towards me and almost immediately asked if I would be interested in the treasurer role. I’m still unsure how she knew I was an accountant.   “It seemed a logical way to use my experience. I am a qualified chartered accountant, although my career had taken me in a more general financial direction in the city and elsewhere. Latterly, I became heavily involved in the financing of the early cable television industry in the UK and then acted as financial adviser to a range of smaller companies in helping them to grow. My workload ran down during my wife’s illness, so 2006 was my last full year.   “I have a variety of interests, with golf a major consumer of time! I finished a year as captain of my golf club last May and was once its treasurer. I also play bridge and am an active theatre goer. I follow Formula One, cricket (I am a member of Surrey County Cricket Club at the Oval), golf and tennis. About six years ago I set myself a target of going to as many F1 circuits as possible and have been to 11 to date; this provides a nice centrepiece for holidays in lovely places.   “The key is for me to help Ovacome succeed and grow in its role as a support network. This can be done by managing its finances as tightly as possible and providing trustees and staff with the financial information that can help them in their roles: typically taking a half day a week of my time.   “I have two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren – ranging from age one to 11. They live quite near my home in Woking, Berkshire, so I get to see them quite regularly. I have a partner who had been a good friend of Susanna’s.
Victoria von Wachter
Trustee
Victoria von Wachter
Trustee
Victoria’s first degree was in Biochemistry at Southampton University followed by an MPhil in Biochemical Genetics jointly sponsored by Southampton University and Magdalen College, Oxford. Victoria then pursued a successful career in industry as an Industrial Relations specialist within the manufacturing, broadcasting and water treatment and supply sectors, and then as a self-employed management consultant. Victoria was awarded first class honours in her LL.B from the University of London. She then took the Bar Vocational Course at the ICSL from 1995 to 1996 and was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in July 1997. Victoria’s main areas of practice are employment and discrimination law. She has successfully represented clients in both the public and private sectors. Victoria is adept at handling complex and lengthy employment law cases with special expertise in all types of discrimination and whistleblowing claims. Victoria has a lifelong interest in horses and riding – she represented Great Britain at junior level in three day eventing and is currently the Performance Test Director of the National Stallion Association. Member and a registered assessor of the British Psychological Society Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
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