Jamie Oliver saleswoman from Norwich raises awareness of ovarian cancer

A Sprowston woman whose mother died from ovarian cancer is bidding to raise awareness of the disease known as the silent killer which leaves more than 4,000 women dead each year.

Wendy Williams' mum Ann Lack was one of many women not diagnosed until the disease was in its later stages and died within months.

Now Mrs Williams wants to raise awareness of the disease which is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in women in the country.

More than 6,600 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK and 4,400 will die, with 75 per cent of them not diagnosed until the later stages when little can be done.

Mrs Williams, 51, of Rayns Close, Sprowston, said: 'Mum didn't know anything about ovarian cancer. It's called the silent killer and had she known more about the symptoms, she would have been more aware.

'It was a big shock when she was diagnosed. I was in disbelief. I want to make other people more aware of the disease because if someone knows about the symptoms, they can do more about it and it could save their life.'

Mrs Lack, 72, whose husband Malcolm has battled prostate cancer for 16 years, had been unwell at Christmas 2010 but had no idea how ill she was. When Mrs Lack, also from Sprowston, went to the doctor in the new year, she was told she had ovarian cancer and that it was already in the late stages.

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She died in August.

Her family have just spent their first Christmas without the woman her daughter described as the 'life and soul of the party'.

'Mum was the life and soul of the party. Although she was 72 when she died, she didn't act it or look it at all. She did a lot of fundraising herself and she raised money for one of the cancer charities in case someone in her own family had it - little did she know it was going to be her,' said Mrs Williams.

'Christmas was difficult without her. She loved a party and she loved Christmas. She instilled it in us to still have a good time and we raised a glass to her.'

Mrs Williams is now planning an initial event to raise both awareness of the disease and money for The Eve Appeal which funds research into the five gynaecological cancers: ovarian, cervical, vulval, vaginal and womb.

She manages a team of chef Jamie Oliver 'Jamie at Home' consultants, and will hold a fundraising party at the Royal Oak pub in North Walsham Road, Sprowston, on January 20 at 7.30pm where information will be available about the cancers and the Eve Appeal charity.

Generally, most gynaecological cancers, with the exception of cervical cancer, are found in women aged over 50 but the incidence rates of some of the other gynaecological cancers for younger women have been rising.

For more information or to attend the fundraising party, call Mrs Williams on 07908 692365 by January 13.

For more information about the Eve Appeal visit www.eveappeal.org.uk.

Are you holding a fundraising event in memory of a loved one? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain

Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating

Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly

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