Oulton Broad to Norwich kayak fundraiser in memory of Superdry shop assistant
PUBLISHED: 12:26 28 September 2012
She had everything to live for. But cancer claimed the 23-year-old despite all efforts to beat the disease.
Russian-born Olga Demina, who had just received her British citizenship and was planning to go to university, was diagnosed with cervical cancer last summer. She had bravely battled the disease but in March was given the devastating news that it had spread to her liver.
The shop assistant, who lived in Spencer Road, near Fifers Lane, and had lived in Norwich for five years, lost her fight on August 11 this year.
Now her friends, family and colleagues are planning a charity kayak paddle in her memory and to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
They described her as a “beautiful girl with a very smart and very quick sense of humour”.
Her boyfriend Aaron Cooper, who lives near Dereham Road, said: “I miss everything about her. She was bubbly, funny – we used to go out and have a good laugh together.
“I don’t think anyone can believe how strong she was and how hard she fought.”
Each year, more than 2,900 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK. It usually occurs in women over the age of 20, with the highest rates between the ages of 30 and 39.
When Miss Demina, who lived with her mum Olga Huggins and step-dad Mike Huggins, was diagnosed with the disease, she was told it was already in one of the advanced stages.
She was supported by Macmillan Cancer Support nurses during her final weeks.
Miss Demina was under the age for regular screening, but in August it was revealed that NHS Norfolk has seen its uptake of cervical screening for 25 to 64-year-olds decreased from 81.3pc in 2005-06 to 80.3pc in 2010-11.
In 2010-11, around 35,000 women in Norfolk invited to be screened did not go on to have a test.
Nic Townsend, 23, who lives in the north of the city and worked with Miss Demina at Superdry in Chapelfield Plain, said: “Olga had fought so hard against the cancer and fought for all her friends and family.
“It was such a shock when she died. She was very funny, quick-witted, really glamorous and beautiful. She loved her mum and step-dad and we all miss her a great deal.”
Tomorrow, Mr Townsend will be taking part in the charity kayak paddle with his colleagues Freddy Papworth, 21, who came up with the idea for the challenge, Remi Greer, 22, Todd Lacey, 30, and Yiggi Chui, 24.
Miss Demina’s boyfriend, step-dad and Mr Papworth’s brother George, 25, will also be taking part.
The group will be paddling 28 miles from Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, to Norwich. They have already raised more than £2,000 and hope to raise more on the day.
Mr Cooper, who works at Aviva, said: “When Olga’s step-dad and I heard about the kayak paddle, we thought it was a brilliant idea and couldn’t let all those boys do it without getting involved ourselves. I think Olga would be very proud of everyone for doing it.”
The group will set off from Oulton Broad at 7am and plan to arrive at Norwich Playhouse at 7pm. There will also be a cake sale from 5pm, hosted by some of the staff members from Superdry.
“We want as many people as possible to be at the Playhouse for when we finish, there will be a great atmosphere and hopefully we will raise a lot of money,” added Mr Townsend.
“The kayak is going to be a real struggle for all of us but nothing compared with what Olga went through.”
There are several ways in which people can donate to the cause.
There will be collection buckets on the night, cakes in aid of the charity, there are collection buckets in store at Superdry or people can sponsor the team online at www.justgiving.com/theoggieoggiekayak.
Are you hosting a charity event in memory of a loved one? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.