Meet Gill Harler...
The first thing to know about Gill is that she hated this page. She was not one for seeking attention or standing in the limelight. She forever insisted that this fund was the creation of a fantastic team of people of which she was just one.
She was right of course, but she was also persuaded to appreciate the importance of her own efforts in inspiring and motivating others into action. It is Gill's passion and drive that encourages people to recognise the problems she identified and want to join her campaign to improve the outcomes for those affected by ovarian cancer.
Despite Gill's own personal 5 year battle with the disease, she ironically described herself as one of the lucky ones...
Gill Harler with husband Anton who she described as her "Rock." "It's Anton that keeps me going. His love, support and humour are everything to me."
"Yes, I have endured much and I continue to do so, but what about those women who don't get as long as me? What about the families who lose their loved ones so quickly? What about the younger women who are diagnosed late? They don't get the chance to live beyond 50, 40, 30, or even younger in some cases, never mind reach my age. That just breaks my heart. In that respect I am very lucky."
Gill's compassion was evident to everyone she met. Her voice betrayed emotion as it wavered when asked what she wanted to achieve with the Gill Harler Fund. "You know, very soon after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer one thing becomes very clear. Far too many women are diagnosed at later stages of the disease when treatment is much more difficult. Many of them report that they simply ignored the symptoms assuming it was just part of getting older. Of those that did eventually see a doctor, some, like myself, find that they are assumed to have a less serious condition, in my case IBS. It doesn't take much working out to realise that if more women were diagnosed earlier then more lives could be saved. If this fund and my efforts lead to just one woman being diagnosed earlier than she might otherwise have been, then when my time comes, I can rest easy in knowing I made a difference."
Sadly, Gill's inevitable time did come as she finally succumbed to the devastating effects of the disease on 17th February 2017. Of course her passing brings great sadness to her family and all those who knew her as a friend, but it is with gratitude that we all appreciate her life and the tremendous effect she had on so many people. Her work and dedication to raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms is a testament that will live on with the charity created in her name. So many people involved with this cause take inspiration from Gill's dedication and as a result pledge to ensure her message will be heard until this insidious disease is finally eradicated. Indeed, rest easy, Gill... You did make a difference and will continue to do so.
Gill made a difference, we all can too. Help us to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.