THIS year’s Mornington Peninsula Walk With Women underlines the importance of ovarian cancer research, as participants remembers its founder and welcomes others touched by the disease.
The 30-kilometre walk will leave Safety Beach Sailing Club on Sunday 6 February, and a five-kilometre walk that starts at Canterbury Jetty Boat Club, Blairgowrie.
Since it began in 2016 with six friends, Walk With Women has grown to more than 200 participants and raised more than $80,000 for vital Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation-financed research.
Ovarian cancer has no early detection test, so many cases are advanced when diagnosed and the survival rate remains low.
Among this year’s participants is Candice Hung, a Melbourne leadership coach and mother of two who is now healthy after her ovarian cancer was diagnosed early.
Her cancer was found by chance during a medical procedure, and she agrees more research is needed into early detection.
Ms Hung and her husband Andy are looking forward to the walk, which she says is a great way to raise awareness and funds during February, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
“I want to help change the statistics and give those diagnosed with ovarian cancer a greater chance of survival,” she said.
“Research is the answer.”
Walk With Women Founder Helen Powell was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. The wife and mother of four boys ran the walk for three years until dying from the disease in February 2020.
Ms Powell wanted the walk to continue to increase community awareness of ovarian cancer, encourage participation and ultimately action. She knew she would not live to see an early detection test but was adamant the next generation deserved better.
Ms Powell’s husband and their four sons continue her legacy in partnership with the foundation.
As part of this, the walk has moved to February to commemorate her death.
OCRF chief executive Lucinda Nolan said the five-year survival rate for breast cancer was 91 per cent, 83 per cent for uterine and 71 per cent for cervical.
“For ovarian cancer, it is 46 per cent. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer, yet it is critically underfunded,” she said.
For those who cannot make the walk on the peninsula, a virtual walk can be completed.
To find out more or donate, visit walkwithwomen.org.au