Meetup group raises £10,000 for cancer research after founder’s diagnosis

21 August 2018

Meetup group raises £10,000 for cancer research after founder’s diagnosis
When Aksa Marshal was diagnosed with ovarian cancer she knew she faced a challenging road ahead, requiring surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy at Hammersmith Hospital to battle the disease.

She decided she wanted to do her bit to make sure nobody else would have to go through her ordeal and with the help of Meet and Mingle, the meetup group she founded, raised an incredible £10,000 for the Ovarian Care Fund.

Aksa said: “I didn’t have many symptoms or signs. My GP referred me to Hammersmith Hospital where I was told I had stage 4 cancer. They said it was so aggressive they didn’t want to leave it any longer and admitted me there and then.

“After that I had major surgery. It was very aggressive, the cancer had gone into a lot of my abdominal area, they had to scrape a lot of my lungs, kidneys and take out my lymph nodes.

“The care has been great. I live in Slough but I asked to continue my treatment at Hammersmith Hospital. I’m so happy with the treatment, the doctors, the nurses; they’ve done so well and helped me recover”.

To help fight the disease and give back to the team that looked after her, members of Meet and Mingle came together to organise a series of fundraising events in support of the charity’s appeal including a family fun day, a sponsored walk, and a fashion show.

On Saturday the group held a cancer awareness conference where they presented a cheque to Professor Christina Fotopoulou, Aksa’s consultant and one of the country’s leading experts in ovarian cancer.

Professor Fotopoulou said: “I was humbled by Aksa’s strength, courage and amazing drive to give back to other patients with ovarian cancer and offer them hope for the future.

“The group’s generous donation will help fund research to better understand the disease, resistance to chemotherapy drugs and how the cancer changes over time from patient to patient”.

Professor Fotopoulou also spoke to the group about ovarian cancer, including how to spot it early on.

She said: “Ovarian cancer has long been referred to as the silent killer among women’s cancer, however it’s not as silent as one would think. Some of the most common symptoms can resemble IBS: abdominal swelling and pain, loss of appetite, change of bowel habits, frequent urination and fatigue.

“It’s important that women are aware of what the symptoms look like so they can alert their GP and get a referral for further examination. By detecting the disease at an early stage, we can achieve a better survival rate for patients.”

Imperial Health Charity launched the Ovarian Care Fund earlier this year to raise money for research into advanced ovarian cancer in women. To find out more about the appeal and how you can support it, click here.