Our Logo by Adprinta's Andy Bowen.
When Gill approached Adprinta to get involved with her new fund's campaign, we were both thrilled and humbled. Thrilled because it gave my son James and I the opportunity to use our professional skills to help promote a cause that is very dear to our hearts. Humbled because Gill asked that I not only contribute through our business, but also in a more personal way. The result is this webpage. I decided to write briefly about our logo because it has been designed to represent exactly why raising awareness of ovarian cancer is essential.
The first diamond is in memory of the many thousands of women who have died as a result of this insidious disease. We want to pay tribute to them and acknowledge the loss that must forever be endured by their loved ones.
Every year in the UK over 4000 women lose their lives to ovarian cancer. It's so easy to read that statistic and forget exactly what it means. It means devastated families left asking themselves, 'What if?' What if the women they loved had been diagnosed earlier?
Women like Gill's dear friend, my darling wife and soulmate, Angie Bowen (right). At 47, Angie had everything to live for. A devoted husband, loving adult daughters and the absolute joy of her grandchildren. We had recently started our own business and she loved her job as a very popular dog groomer. Angie was, in her words, 'absolutely content,' with her life.That all changed in December 2012 when she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer; her prognosis was very poor.
Over the years, the colour teal and the ribbon symbol have come to be regarded as a global emblem for ovarian cancer. Gaining recognition is a hard road in the face of a widespread lack of awareness of the disease. Some people have campaigned for many years for more to be done in the way of research, support and investment. The Gill Harler Fund, salutes their efforts and for this reason, we chose the teal ribbon as the basis for our campaign logo.
We had practical considerations too. We wanted a logo that would easily translate into an enamel badge so people could display their support for our campaign and for the wider fight against ovarian cancer. We think the ribbon design we have adopted does this. The badges are available for purchase here. Please support us if you can.
There is more to our logo though. As can be seen in the image to the left, our ribbon carries three diamonds. Each diamond has its own meaning...
Our shock at being told Angie had cancer was compounded by the fact that her symptoms might have led to a much earlier diagnosis. For a long time she suffered with persistent bloating and abdominal pain. Her menstrual cycle had been disrupted for a couple of years and while she had never been a big eater she ate less and less, always feeling full very quickly. Because she also experienced night sweats, and despite being just 47 years old, Angie assumed her problems were all a result of early onset menopause. She didn't seek medical advice assuming her GP would just offer HRT which she didn't want. Like many women, she just put up with it and got on with things. She was wrong; it wasn't menopause. It was the not so silent symptoms of ovarian cancer. Angie sadly succumbed to her disease on Boxing Day 2014 aged just 49 and exactly 2 years, 2 weeks and 2 days from her diagnosis. What if she had been aware of the symptoms? What if I had known about them? Perhaps I might still have had her sharing my life today.
Listen to your body... Symptoms are not as silent as you might think!
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at freedigitalphotos.net
Sadly Angie's story is not unique. For many women it is typical of their own stories. Because many women diagnosed with ovarian cancer tend to be post-menopausal, any lack of awareness of the symptoms makes it an easy mistake to make. That can also lead GP's down the wrong path too. Some GP's may never even see a case of ovarian cancer throughout their entire career. Hardly surprising then that a disease which largely effects older women is not automatically considered when someone younger presents with the same symptoms. But it happens and things have to change. Countless women report they were treated for a considerable time for conditions such as IBS before eventually reaching a cancer diagnosis...at a later stage. That is when the horrific cycle of treatment begins. Life changes beyond recognition. It means endless hospital visits for treatment which in itself can cause severe side effects and make the patient feel very ill. Our second diamond is for all those women and their loved ones who continue to endure this disease and overcome all the things they must in order to prolong their lives together.
The above image refers to what our third and final diamond represents. We know what it is for, but not for who. We pay tribute to those currently faceless and nameless women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the future. We know the trials and tribulations they and their families face and we wish them well no matter the stage they are diagnosed. The reality is though that without greater awareness of the symptoms, too many of them will be diagnosed at later stages when effective treatment is more difficult to achieve. Everyone involved with the Gill Harler Fund would be overwhelmed with joy if we had to change our current logo. We would love to have just a single diamond to show a wearer is a survivor or wears it to honour the memory of someone who has sadly died of the disease. It would of course mean a cure has at last been found. Until then though, we have work to do in getting the awareness message out there. Please help us if you can. Awareness can and will save lives.