Thursday, 5 January 2012


Words Jemma Volp-Fletcher.
Photos Matt Ford.

Investigative journalist and TV presenter Cherry Healey showed her support for North West Cancer Research Fund’s O-Very campaign by meeting patients, doctors and the charity’s team of scientific researchers to find out more about ovarian cancer, its symptoms and the predispositions amongst women.

The O-Very campaign has been launched by North West Cancer Research Fund (NWCRF) to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, which is the biggest gynaecological killer of women in the UK and affects nearly 7,000 women every year.

Cherry, best known for her insightful documentaries on BBC3, visited the NWCRF funded research laboratories at University of Liverpool to meet with lead researcher Dr Daimark Bennett who is working on a pioneering three-year project using fruit flies to investigate the role of proteins in the spread of ovarian cancer.

The work by Dr Daimark Bennett and his team is one of several cancer research projects that NWCRF is currently funding. The charity spends nearly £1million each year providing grants for fundamental research in the North West of England and Wales into the causes of cancer and how it spreads.

Dr Daimark Bennett said: “Because ovarian cancer is often only detected when it has spread to other organs our research primarily looks at the ‘pathways’ the disease uses to permeate other organs which will help us better understand the disease. A huge number of women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and the disease ends up killing almost two thirds of that number – a death rate of over 70 per cent - which is why our research is so crucial.”

Cherry also met with Debbie Taaffe, 48, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June 2010 to find out more about the disease and why it is often dubbed the ‘silent killer’.

Debbie said: “I am absolutely determined to raise awareness about this horrible disease and its symptoms – the more women that know what to look out for, the more will be saved through early diagnosis. The problem is not that the disease is ‘silent’ and doesn’t have any symptoms, it’s that they are often confused with other issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gallstones.

“The message I want to get out there is that women need to listen to their own bodies and seek medical advice if they experience any of the following symptoms: persistent abdominal and pelvic pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits, loss of appetite and fatigue. Smear tests do not pick up ovarian cancer so it’s important for women to spread the word to their friends and family – it’s about creating a ripple effect.”

During her visit Cherry also had time to meet with several of the charity’s key committee fundraisers and supporters including Janet Bailey, who had her ovaries removed as a preventative measure after her mother tragically died of the disease 12 months ago.

Cherry said: “I am honoured and moved to have met such amazing and inspirational people during my visit – I have learnt so much in just one day from the research team to the doctors and the fundraisers who make all the charity’s work possible. It has brought it all home how aggressive this type of cancer is and the importance of raising both awareness and funds for the cutting edge research to continue. It sounds dramatic but it’s absolutely true that this campaign will save lives.”

Cherry’s involvement with the O-Very campaign is hoped to encourage ladies around the country to hold their own fundraising and awareness drives on Friday 2nd March – O-Very Day – to coincide with ovarian cancer awareness month.


To find out more visit

North West Cancer Research Fund provides grants to support fundamental research in the North West of England and North and Mid-Wales, into the causes of cancer and the mechanisms by which cancers arise and exert their effects.

North West Cancer Research Fund is one of the region’s most cost-effective charities with almost 90p in every £1 going directly to cancer research.

Press enquiries:
Natalie Stewart
Think Publicity
0151 236 5372