Brave Sharon’s charity campaign is growing

Sharon Graham who is suffering from incurable ovarian cancer
Sharon Graham who is suffering from incurable ovarian cancer

SHARON Graham is still getting used to her new look - a shaved head, which helped to raise nearly £1300 for ovarian cancer charities.

The brave move is all the more poignant because Sharon, 43, is suffering from the disease, and doctors have told her that it is incurable.

Originally diagnosed in November 2011, she underwent a gruelling course of chemotherapy before receiving the all-clear in April 2012.

But just three months later, it had returned and Sharon, wife of Councillor David Graham, is on her second course until June.

“I’m just receiving the chemo as and when I need it now,” she said. “When we asked the doctors, they said we were talking years, not months.”

Sharon, who has two sons, is currently campaigning against the decision not to prescribe Avastin, a drug which could potentially shrink her tumours, north of the border.

“The drug hasn’t been approved by the Scottish Medical Consortium, but there have been instances where it has been prescribed on a case by case basis.

“It’s so frustrating knowing that there is something out there that might possibly help.”

Keen to raise awareness of the disease, which affects around 6,800 women in the UK each year, Sharon organised the sponsored headshave at Methilhill Bowling Club, where she sings with the resident band, to raise funds for Target Ovarian Cancer and Ovacome.

“We had such a fantastic response,” she said. “We’re fighting for more research trials into ovarian cancer because there hasn’t been any new research for 20 years.”

Sharon hopes her experiences will help other women to recognise symptoms earlier.

“It took about five or six months to diagnose me - I was mis-treated for constipation for four months. A lot of the time, symptoms are missed or just thought of as ‘women’s problems’ - like a swollen stomach and bloating and feeling full.

“If women could be sent for scans quicker, which I think cost about £19, then they could see any masses or swelling and deal with them.”

Looking forward to the end of her chemotherapy, Sharon hopes to continue to fundraise.

“Some of my singing friends and I thought we could do a charity song to raise more awareness. I’ve cut back on the amount of gigs I’ve been doing but I’ll continue performing at the club on a Sunday night for as long as I can - it helps to give me a bit of normality.”