Justin Flynn is the father of three girls and the husband of Leane Flynn, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago. In this blog he tells us why every Christmas he worries about the figure 29%. Read on to learn why.
The most wonderful time of the year.
Finally, it’s Christmas! It’s one of our family’s favourite times of the year. And, after the roller coaster ride that was 2020, it can’t come soon enough. Of course, like everyone else we’re focused on finding the perfect presents, making sure we get all the shopping done, and we’re excited to have everyone over (here’s to the easing of restrictions!) But for our family, Christmas is always tinged with a little bit of worry.
As the tree goes up, the presents are wrapped and the ham is cooked, we can’t help thinking about one figure — 29%.
You see, around Christmas time in 2017 my wife Leane was diagnosed with Stage 3C advanced ovarian cancer. It came out of nowhere and meant no Christmas would ever be the same. It was such a shock. Leane takes great care of herself and has regular health checkups, so there was no reason to believe she was unwell. Regardless, we were told her stage of ovarian cancer has an average 5-year survival rate as low as 29%. Now, every Christmas that’s the number we think about. It’s the number that makes Leane, our three girls and I worry about how many more Christmas’ we’ll have together.
It’s all about timing...
Around Christmas, I can’t help but think about timing and how urgent ovarian cancer research really is. If we had been able to detect Leane’s cancer earlier, our lives would have been very different. Leane could have avoided extensive surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Our three daughters would not have had to watch their mother suffer through multiple recurrences. And, we all would have been able to enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas — without having to worry about the future.
Unfortunately, time is not on our side and there are families like us all over the world in the exact same situation.
Research that takes time.
Though we can’t buy ourselves more time, by speeding up the research process we can develop new treatments to help women who are living with ovarian cancer right now.
These research breakthroughs take a lot of hard work, focus and, yep you guessed it, time. This means that researchers need continuous funding so they can keep working on the treatments that my wife and others like her desperately need. If researchers are slowed down by constantly having to apply for new funding or having to scale back their teams, this drastically impacts the time it will take for new treatments to reach clinical trials. Ultimately this delays new treatments from reaching the women who need them most.
As well as this, the OCRF are working to fund research into an early detection test for ovarian cancer. A test like this is so important and would have saved my family from the suffering we’ve endured. The lives of countless women and girls, just like my three daughters and those you know and love, will be saved if an early detection test for this disease is developed. That’s why the OCRF is working hard to reach this goal.
A gift worth giving this Christmas.
I want families like ours to celebrate Christmas together without the fear of ovarian cancer. That's why this year I’m giving the gift of ovarian cancer research to my extended family and close friends.
How can you give research as a gift I hear you ask? Well, the OCRF has created an amazing way to gift donations to those you love. Simply buy a digital card and donate on behalf of whoever you’re buying a present for. Donations like this really are a gift like no other. They’re the gift of continued research. The gift of more time for families like mine. They’re a gift of hope for women all over Australia battling ovarian cancer every day.
Purchase your OCRF Christmas card
So this year, if you’ve been struggling to find the perfect gift — you may have just found it. Take the time to donate a gift today and know that you’re helping make for a much happier and more hopeful Christmas for my family.
You can give the gift of research this Christmas here.
Thank you for your support.
Husband of Leane Flynn, ovarian cancer patient and OCRF Ambassador.