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‘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

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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!”

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