It’s already the end of March and while we’re excited to welcome the spring season in, we’re sad that it’s the final week of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month here in the UK because we’ve been so honored to partner with Ovarian Cancer Action (OCA) in an effort to spread awareness and take action against this deadly disease. But the fight against ovarian cancer won’t stop just because March is over, and we’re still aiming to meet our fundraising goal to beat ovarian cancer! You too can be a part of the solution by joining us in our goal to raise £1000 for OCA to fund cutting-edge research, increase awareness, and eventually take down this cancer that strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a woman.
Over the past month we’ve featured inspiring stories (read more here and here!), shared insights into early detection and research, and covered the ways you can get active and get involved with OCA. For our last post of the month, we want to talk about something that’s near and dear to us here at Baby2Body: using fitness for health, happiness, and personal empowerment. We’ve heard so many stories from OCA ‘Voice’ advocates (that are inspiring, heartbreaking, and everything in between) – and we wanted to share a few snippets with you today.
The following anecdotes are all from women who are ovarian cancer patients and survivors, and how they’ve used fitness through treatment and remission to lift their spirits and ease their symptoms. Usually, when we talk about fitness it’s all about making simple workout modifications during pregnancy and reclaiming your exercise routine after birth. But celebrating fitness as a positive outlet, a source of clean energy, and a gift to yourself and your health is applicable to every challenge (good or bad) that we face in life. And these women show that beautifully. Be sure to read on for more fitness inspiration…
Florence, ovarian cancer patient and OCA ‘Voice’ advocate:
“I have played tennis throughout all my treatment apart from when recovering from surgery. [It] helps in a whole host of ways – the social aspect, the raising of serotonin, improved fitness and thus emotional and [physical] strength … to name a few!”
Want to know why we love tennis and recommend it for all ages? Read more here.
Lorraine, ovarian cancer patient and OCA ‘Voice’ advocate:
“I have always found running has helped me, and completing my 100th Parkrun during third line [treatment] was a big focus that helped me through. This year I have struggled with my breathing so have not done as many parkruns as I would have liked.”
The wonders of running are truly remarkable, and it’s as demanding mentally as it is physically. Learn more about it here.
Ingrid, ovarian cancer patient and OCA ‘Voice’ advocate:
“I hate exercising so tend to use treatment as an excuse for not doing it. However when I do force myself to go for a brisk walk, I do feel so much better in myself – clear head and invigorated.”
We all struggle with motivation when it comes to exercise, but it’s always worth it in the end. Check out our top exercise motivation tips here.
Suzie, ovarian cancer survivor and OCA fundraiser:
“Before I started chemo, I was already an active person. One of my main worries about chemo (other than the chemo itself of course!), was losing my fitness and ability to exercise. So instead of fretting, I just made sure it didn’t happen. I tried going for little runs and gym sessions, even if it was just to stretch. The week before chemo started again when I felt the best I would try to exert myself a bit more. I managed to do a 5km Race for Life the week before my 5/6 [chemo] cycle and when I was feeling particularly rotten. And this year, 6 months out of chemo I am training for the London Marathon in April and Ride London [to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Action] in July!! So it goes to show that you really can do anything if you have a positive enough mind frame. Positivity is SO important when undergoing treatment!”
Uniting your fitness goals with causes that are close to your heart is incredibly rewarding – and it definitely keeps you positive and motivated! Check out more charity Challenges – like the ones Suzie’s doing! – here.
Vicky, ovarian cancer patient and OCA ‘Voice’ advocate:
“I’ve always been active, although never ‘sporty.’ During my first line chemo I was advised to walk an hour every day which I’m sure significantly reduced my side effects. I did a mindfulness course and started yoga, to keep my body strong and my head in the right place. Other than during periods of pain I’ve also managed to get to the gym, at least once a week, sometimes 2, to keep my bones and muscles strong. I should do more gym and less yoga, but yoga gives me an all-round wellness feeling like nothing else and I’m a bit addicted to it. Most importantly after 3 extensive open surgeries, 4 rounds of radiotherapy, hair loss twice, ongoing nerve pain in my leg, and lingering neuropathy, exercise has allowed me to make friends with my body again and accept and be proud of the me that is living with cancer. I also believe it’s kept me strong as after 3 and a half years of treatment every 3 weeks I’ve not yet had to miss one.”
Fitness doesn’t always look the same for everyone, and you have the power to choose what exercise to do, based on what works best for you. Learn how to choose the best exercise for you, here.
To all of OCA Voice Advocates that were willing to share their stories, we thank you. And to all of you out there who took the time to increase your awareness of ovarian cancer, we thank you too! The more we all know, the better we can fight this disease. You can also make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of women by joining our fundraising efforts to beat ovarian cancer. Even one dollar, one pound, or one euro helps! Remember, we’re in this fight together.