When a close family friend died three months after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Lisa Robey turned to fundraising to help improve survival rates.
“My mum’s best friend, who I had always called Aunty, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. She died a few months later. It was devastating for everyone,” Lisa, a marketing manager and dance teacher, says.
“The fact that she was diagnosed and died so suddenly is not unusual. Every 10 hours, one woman in Australia dies from ovarian cancer. I learned that the symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague, and there are no early detection tests. You can’t detect ovarian cancer in a pap smear.”
Ever since, Lisa has raised money for ovarian cancer research in her aunt’s memory. She estimates that she has raised more than $10,000 for ovarian cancer research since 2011.
Lisa, who is also an Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) ambassador, has participated in Frocktober (a fitting tribute considering her aunt was a talented dressmaker), organised multiple dance fundraisers and worked with the OCRF to raise money as part of White Shirt Day, which is a joint OCRF and Witchery initiative.
She says that while she was powerless to save her aunt, her fundraising efforts may help prevent future deaths.
“The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation supports research into ovarian cancer, with the ultimate aim of developing a detection test. It wants to make a test that’s simple and cost effective.
“This is important because if ovarian cancer is caught early, then it has an incredibly high survival rate of between 80 to 100 percent. If you don’t catch it early, then the survival rate drops to 30 or 40 percent,” she says.
This year, Lisa is coordinating her first Spring High Tea event to raise money for the OCRF. The high tea will be held at the CIT Function Centre on Saturday 10 October.
“I wanted the perfect occasion to wear a pretty frock. A high tea seemed ideal for that. Everyone is welcome, including men, and while frocks are encouraged they are not mandatory.
“We’ve had some amazing Canberra businesses offer to support us with raffle prizes, and we’ll also have live music. It should be a really lovely afternoon,” she says.
The high tea’s fundraising target is $3000, with all funds to go to the OCRF.