Local Support Group Available to Women with Ovarian Cancer

Di Shipley, the Co-founder of the Ovarian Cancer Support Group talks to Latest TV about the reasons why she founded the group and the support it offers to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Sussex. Fellow member, Sue Meek, talks about her experiences of diagnosis and treatment and how the support group helps women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Di Shipley, a former senior probation officer, Julie Bowden an Argentine Tango teacher and Delilah Hesling a former nurse with over 20 years’ experience, set up an ovarian cancer support group last year after meeting during treatment for the condition at the Royal Sussex University Hospital.

Di says: “We’re all part of this exclusive club that no one would chose to be a member of, but we have found great comfort meeting every month and from sharing our thoughts and feelings with others in the same situation. We have gathered a wealth of information about treatments and ways of coping with side effects for example to share so even if people can’t meet in person we’d encourage you to get in touch. “We want to ensure that everyone who could benefit from this type of support knows how to find it. “We have plans to get on the radio and local TV and are working with The Trust for Developing Communities (TDC) in Brighton in order to reach diverse communities as well as with Macmillan’s primary care nurse facilitators working with GP surgeries throughout the county.”

Delilah who leads the patient support group at Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton adds: “We are pleased with the way our group has grown and developed over the short time we have been meeting but know that there may be more people suffering in silence in our community and want to make sure we reach them all. Everyone affected by ovarian cancer is welcome to join the group no matter what your age, cultural background, or sexual identity.”

Julie who had to give up her career as a travel agent and tree surgeon as well as her role at The Appropriate Adult Service (TAAS), continues to teach the Argentine Tango in Hove said: “Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose so most people discover they have it by accident and often when the disease is quite advanced. We were all diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, so our treatment and prognoses have been quite challenging. I have now started a trial at Guys hospital in London and Delilah is waiting to discover what treatment options remain open to her. We know we are not alone in receiving this type of news which is why we want to ensure others can access the support we have given each other and have found so helpful. “Our friends and families have been great but sometimes it’s really helpful to talk with people going through the same thing as you as these conversations can be franker and more honest which those close to you can find hard to handle. With Spring approaching we plan to organise some days out so we can have fun too! We also have an active WhatsApp group to keep in touch in between group meetings and share information.”

To find out more about the Ovarian Cancer Support group at the Macmillan Horizon Centre please email ovariansg@gmail.com .

During the filming of these interviews, we learnt that sadly Julie Bowden, one of the co-founders had died in April 2024, and the members of the group and Latest TV would like to dedicate this programme to her memory. We send our deep condolences to Julie’s family and friends.

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