Can you please help us this Christmas?
09 November 2023
We're excited to launch our Christmas appeal which aims to try and save lives across the North West.
This Christmas, which will mark five years since broadcaster - and our friend - Dianne Oxberry died from ovarian cancer, will see people across the North West taking part in a special appeal run in her memory.
Please will you join us and help as we try to save lives across the region?
Our charity, which was founded by Dianne’s husband Ian and some of her closest friends following her death in January 2019, is asking individuals and businesses to consider supporting us to ‘Spread the Word’ about the symptoms of ovarian cancer with people across the North West.
We've launched a special Christmas appeal to ask if people can make a donation of just £3 over the Christmas period, an amount which could help us reach 50 individuals in the North West about the signs to look out for.
According to figures from Ovarian Cancer Action, only three in 10 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer live beyond 10 years. Early diagnosis is an incredibly important factor in improving those figures – something Dianne’s friends and family who founded our charity in her name found out in the most devasting way possible.
Eamonn O’Neal, broadcaster, friend of Dianne and Chair of the Dianne Oxberry Trust, said: “Five years have passed since our amazing Dianne died and we still miss her every day.
“She loved Christmas as her family meant the world to her and having that special time of the year to celebrate and spend quality time with them was so important.
“She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on New Year’s Eve of 2018 and died just 10 days later. She had been experiencing a bit of tummy pain and was tired but otherwise didn’t really have any other symptoms. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a ‘whispering disease’ as for many they don’t know the symptoms to look out for and diagnosis comes much too late.
“That was the case for Dianne tragically. In fact, a month earlier she had literally been raising money for charity herself, walking miles for Children in Need. To have just 10 days between being diagnosed on New Year’s Eve and her death was truly devastating.
“When Dianne’s husband Ian set up the charity in her name, we all agreed we wanted to shout from the rooftops about the symptoms to look out for. If just one person can have more time with their loved ones than we had with Dianne, then that would be incredible. No family should have to go through what Dianne’s did and we’re adamant we want to make a difference so something positive can come from something so heartbreaking.”
Following Dianne’s death, a huge outpouring of grief followed from people across the region and beyond, with a special memorial held at Manchester Cathedral in her honour.
Eamonn added: “We know, not just from the feedback we got straight after her death, but from the people who continue to contact us now, that Dianne’s death – and her life too of course - really touched the hearts of people both in our region and beyond.
“If even a small number of those people were able to mobilise and support this appeal by donating just £3, it really could help us spread the word across the North West and save the lives of other mums, of other friends.
“It takes three minutes – literally 180 seconds – to familiarise yourself with some of the main signs to look out for. I can’t stress enough how important it is. Ovarian cancer is a silent killer and just being aware can save your life. We know that’s the case as we’ve heard from people locally who have seen the messages we share on social media or on our website and have received an early diagnosis as a result. Most importantly, for many that has meant a significantly more positive prognosis.
“As we all settle down with our families at Christmas, a donation of less than it costs for a drink in many places these days could have such a huge impact on other local families too. Perhaps friends or colleagues could choose to support the appeal rather than taking part in Secret Santa this year? Or maybe businesses could pledge to raise money over the festive period, or at their Christmas parties and events?
“Please support if you’re able, and if you can’t make a donation please share the social media posts on our channels about the signs to look out for. It could save a life – perhaps even your own.”
£3 donated to the Christmas appeal could help us to reach out to 50 local people as we ‘Spread the Word’ about the symptoms of ovarian cancer. £30 donated could help to reach 500 people, while a gift of £300 would mean we could ‘Spread the Word’ to 5,000 local individuals.
Eamonn added: “Christmas is tinged with sadness when we think of our fabulous Dianne, but we’re so privileged to have so many fond memories of the great times we spent with her over the years. I still laugh out loud sometimes thinking of the times we had together both on and off air – her sharp sense of humour never failed to make me smile.
“We miss her enormously, but we’re sure she would be proud of the work that the Dianne Oxberry Trust is doing in her name.”