Left to right: Dr Robyn Sayer, Dr Goli Samimi, Mrs Joan Swarbrick, Mrs Heather Watts and Mrs Margaret Rose
28 February 2014
For the third year, Garvan marked Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day with a gathering of supporters, media and those working toward improving outcomes for women diagnosed with this devastating disease. The response to the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day Leaders’ Lunch was overwhelming, with the Strangers Dining Room at NSW Parliament House at capacity.
Hosted by The Hon Jillian Skinner MP, Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, and Mrs Margaret Rose AM, business leader, ovarian cancer survivor and dedicated advocate for Garvan’s ovarian cancer research into improved early detection, the event aimed to encourage support for Garvan’s ovarian cancer research program, raise awareness about this disease, and acknowledge Mrs Rose’s outstanding support.
Guests heard from Mrs Rose who lamented that, 20 years after her diagnosis, outcomes for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer have not improved. She encouraged those in the room to join her in supporting Garvan’s work to improve early detection, resulting in improved survival rates.
Dr Goli Samimi, head of Garvan’s Ovarian Cancer Research group, gave an update on her team’s world-class research into the development of an early detection test, as well as new and improved therapeutics to treat women with ovarian cancer. Dr Samimi’s clinical collaborator, Dr Robyn Sayer, Gynaecology Oncologist at the Royal Hospital for Women called for increased GP education relating to ovarian cancer, and called on GPs to keep ovarian cancer on their radar.
During the lunch, Mrs Rose said, “Here today we have two beautiful and talented young women (Dr Goli Samimi and Dr Robyn Sayer) working at the coal face of ovarian cancer research and treatment. By supporting them you will be supporting the breakthroughs that will benefit our children and grandchildren. I urge you to get behind them because, as talented and passionate as they are, they cannot do it alone.”
Ovarian cancer patient, Mrs Joan Swarbrick (who is also the mother of Garvan cancer researcher, Dr Alex Swarbrick), and Mrs Heather Watts, founder of Border Ovarian Cancer Awareness Group and mother of Kelsey, who tragically passed away from ovarian cancer in 2011 at the age of 33, spoke personally and passionately about their experiences with this disease.
In recognition of Margaret’s outstanding philanthropic leadership and support, and her long-term advocacy in the field, Garvan Research Foundation Chairman, Mr Geoff Dixon unveiled the Margaret Rose AM Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer Research. This fellowship will be held by Dr Goli Samimi at the Garvan Institute.
Thank you to those who attended this event, and support Garvan’s ovarian cancer research program. For more information about Garvan’s ovarian cancer research, visit www.garvan.org.au/research/diseases-we-research/cancer-ovarian