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Family campaign to increase awareness of ovarian cancer
The family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer at the age of 29 is campaigning to increase awareness of the disease and raise money for charity.
Katie Law, who was born and brought up in Abbots Langley, passed away on February 11, following a seven month battle with the illness.
Her mother Mary Munday, aunt Jennifer Horgan-Watt and cousin Emily Horgan are now hoping to save lives by making more women aware of the condition.
Mrs Horgan-Watt, 41, said: "Katie was so full of life. She loved being alive, she lived her life to the full.
"She’d graduated from Salford University with a degree in criminology, had met her partner Stephen and they had started a life together in Manchester, they were very happy.
"In July last year she started complaining of having a bloated stomach.
"She went to doctors and they discovered she had ovarian cancer and that it had spread to her lung and liver."
Katie, a former St Michael's School student, underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove her tumour at Christie's hospital in Manchester.
According to her family, initially she responded well to treatment and appeared to be on the mend.
But come Christmas-time last year, Katie was suffering from agonising back pain and tests revealed that the cancer had returned.
Despite being given more chemotherapy, the cancer had spread to her bones.
Katie, who worked in administration at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, passed away at the Withington hospital and was cremated on February 24.
Hundreds of people came to the service to pay their respects at Our Lady and St Michael's church in Garston.
Mrs Mundy said: "Even when she lost her hair, her attitude was that she was going to beat this.
"She didn't want to die, she had so much to live for.
"It is because of her love for life that we want to make more people aware of ovarian cancer. The misconception by many women is that it is something that will be picked up in your smear test, or that it affects older women.
"Katie is proof that not only can it affect younger women, but she had regular smears and it was never detected."
According to Mrs Horgan-Watt, a nurse, ovarian cancer can be picked up in a simple blood test.
She said: "It costs the GP nothing, and it is so simple to be tested, but women just aren’t doing it.
"We are hoping to change that. Everyone knows about the pink breast cancer ribbon, but few know about the teal ovarian one. People need to start wearing them.
"If you have abdominal pain, if you’ve swelling in that area, if you’re feeling tired, if you feel full but haven’t eaten - these are all potential signs and I would urge women to get checked out."
In the coming months the family is hoping to hold a number of fundraisers, with even cousin Emily pledging to walk over hot coals to raise cash for charities Ovarian Cancer Action and Overcome.
They had initially set themselves a target to raise £1,100 for the organisations, but as they are well on their way to that goal, they are hoping to collect as much cash as possible.
Mrs Munday said: "Today is particularly poignant for us as Katie was due to propose to her partner Stephen. She had bought the ring and everything.
"Just before she died the couple had a blessing, but she passed away ten minutes before the registrar could make it official.
"In each other they had found their soulmates. I can’t thank Stephen and his family enough for everything they did for Katie, particularly when she was ill.
"I only hope that we can make more people aware, if we can save just one life, then my daughter’s death will have not been for nothing."
Visit Ovarian Cancer Action at: www.ovarian.org.uk and donate under Katie Law.
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