Dion and Cheryl Dublin join our Christmas appeal
09 November 2023
The pair have shared the devastating impact ovarian cancer has had on their family.
Cheryl and Dion Dublin are appealing to people from across the North West to take just three minutes out of their day to carry out a simple action that could potentially save their life.
The pair, who are backing our Spread the Word campaign to help raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, sadly know all too well the devastating impact the disease can have on families.
Cheryl said: "My mum struggled with a bloated tummy and she went backwards and forwards to the doctors for at least 18 months. They said it was irritable bowel syndrome but she kept saying to us ‘there’s something really wrong with me’. But, as she’d been to the doctors she left it for a while before she went back again.
“When she went back to the GP she was extremely bloated by that time and was experiencing other symptoms. She was sent for a scan and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on 13th June. Unfortunately they said it was too advanced and nothing could be done. She sadly died just over three weeks later on the 10th of July.
“It really is a silent killer and we want to shout loudly to people to take three minutes – just 180 seconds – to get to know the signs to look out for. Too many people are being diagnosed far too late, just like my mum and we need to change that now.”
Cheryl’s mum, Anne, from Birkenhead, was just 51 when she died and both Cheryl and her husband Dion are keen to make sure as many people as possible across the North West are symptom aware, so that hopefully more families can have more time with those closest to them than they did.
Dion said: “It’s really important. Everyone should be aware. If we all know what to look out for, then we can alert our friends or family if they are experiencing symptoms and suggest that they should get checked.
“Three minutes is no time at all but the simple question is…if you could save the life of your sister, friend or mum in just three minutes, would you? Of course you would. So do it now – while you’re make a brew, while you’re spending time scrolling on your phone…stop for just 180 seconds and read the symptoms on the Dianne Oxberry Trust website. Do it now before you forget.”
The Spread the Word campaign has been running for more than a year, and uses the acronym WORD to explain some of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer:
Weeing more often
Overly bloated feeling
Dull ache in the pelvis or tummy
We've been sharing a range of content across on and offline channels, including on social media, on the web, in the media and as part of a special rose garden created in broadcaster Dianne Oxberry’s name at MediaCityUK – complete with symptom signage.
Cheryl added: “My sister is 41 and I’m 38 and I sometimes wonder how old my mum was when she actually first got the disease, without knowing what it was.
“Weirdly, though I now know an overly bloated feeling is a symptom of ovarian cancer because that’s what my mum had, I didn’t know about the other signs to look out for until I saw the Spread the Word campaign on social media.
“Hearing about Dianne really resonated with us, especially as she was a similar age to my mum and had a similar experience in that she had such a tragically short time between being diagnosed and dying just ten days later.
“The internet wasn’t really as prominent when my mum was diagnosed as it is now, so I do wonder if she had been able to see the symptoms in a campaign like this, whether she would have had a different outcome.
“Women sometimes just put their head down and get on with things, maybe thinking they’re bloated because of something they’ve eaten or that they’re feeling tired because they’re juggling a million things. But if symptoms are persistent, don’t hesitate to get checked. It literally could save your life.”
Dion added: “People often think that their GP is too busy, with reports all the time about waiting lists and so on, so they may be put off ringing to ask for advice. But they shouldn’t. They should put aside the instinct to not bother people, and get checked out as soon as they can. For most people it will put their mind at ease, and for others, if they are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the earlier the diagnosis the more positive the potential outcome could be.
“Having gone through such a devastating experience in our family we’d say to people be vigilant, know the symptoms and Spread the Word. Please. It could be life-saving and give more people more time with those they love most.”