‘I don’t live with cancer, it lives with me’: Romford mum becomes face of nationwide ovarian cancer campaign

PUBLISHED: 13:10 18 October 2017

Helen Heagren is the new face of Target Ovarian Cancer's national Take Ovar campaign. Photo: Target Ovarian Cancer

Helen Heagren is the new face of Target Ovarian Cancer's national Take Ovar campaign. Photo: Target Ovarian Cancer


A Romford mother battling ovarian cancer has become the new face of a nationwide campaign promoting awareness of the disease.

Helen Heagran lives in Romford town centre and is a teaching assistant at Crowlands Primary School in London Road. She is the new face of Target Ovarian Cancer’s Take Ovar campaign, which hopes to raise public awareness and fund more research into the disease.

Mother-of-two Helen told the Recorder she’s still getting used to having her face plastered across the country.

“I didn’t realise how big it was going to be - everyone’s been seeing me at the moment. It’s quite funny really,” she said.

“One of my sons’ work colleagues went on a business trip up to Leeds, and apparently I’m on a billboard up there at the moment!”

Helen admits she was left “devastated” when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December 2015, just before Christmas.

“The UK has one of the worst ovarian cancer survival rates in Europe and that’s because the funding for trials and research just isn’t there.

“If we as a country put more money into these small cancers then we would see more results.”

Tragically, 11 women die every day from ovarian cancer, and due to a lack of well-funded research the majority of women diagnosed will be treated the exact same way as those diagnosed 20 years ago.

That is something that Helen hopes the Take Ovar campaign could change.

She said: “I joined Target Ovarian Cancer on this campaign because I’m passionate about changing the future for women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I have personal experience and have seen the effect this disease can have on people’s lives.

“We urgently need more new treatments for the disease and there is chronic under funding in ovarian cancer compared to other cancers.

“Enough is enough – it’s time to act now.”

Sadly, Helen’s cancer has now returned and she has been told it is incurable.

“I don’t live with cancer, it lives with me,” she told the Recorder.

“It’s about maintaining myself and my health now.

“It has to put up with me, and I’m a northern lass so I’m going to put up one hell of a fight!”

Latest Romford News Stories

Havering residents will be paying £60.33 more in Council Tax next year after councillors agreed a rise of 3.78pc at a council meeting last night (Wednesday, February 21).

A veterinary practice is warning rabbit owners to protect their beloved pets after 14 were killed by a deadly disease.

Yesterday, 16:58

A 19-year-old gang member has been jailed for firearms offences after he was stopped in a vehicle with a shotgun.

Yesterday, 15:20

A man from Hornchurch has been charged with a number of offences including driving dangerously, will appear in court next month.

Yesterday, 14:53

Groups of travellers have set up camp across the borough so that they can attend a funeral in London.

Yesterday, 12:00

Children in care and care leavers were invited to discuss future careers at the council’s first recruitment event.

Yesterday, 10:00

The team behind the running of a Grade II listed building is appealing for more volunteers to get involved.

Yesterday, 07:00

Havering Council is set to agree a 3.78pc increase in next year’s Council Tax rates at a meeting tonight (Wednesday, February 20).


Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now