Female-based societies at the University of Queensland (UQ) are joining forces to support the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute’s ovarian cancer research through their We’re In This Together Ovarian Cancer Charity Event.
The Nursing and Midwifery Student Association (NAMSA), Supporting Women in Medicine (SWIM), UQ Skirts in Engineering, Women in Science Association (WISA), and the UQ Union Women’s Collective will host the event on Wednesday September 18.
NAMSA president and event organiser Zoe Sever said the female-based societies on campus wanted to increase awareness about ovarian cancer.
“The We’re in This Together Ovarian Cancer Charity Event is an event the female-based UQ societies decided to establish to bring awareness and more of a conversation around the topic of ovarian cancer,” Ms Sever said.
“I really wanted to hold some kind of impactful charity event as we’re in a really unique role as executives at UQ,” she said.
“We wanted to choose something that affects women, that is less talked about, to raise money towards or awareness of.”
Ms Sever said everyone knew about breast cancer and the importance of regular breast checks, but said other cancers were less well known.
“We were thinking ‘what else is something that really isn’t spoken about?’ and, of course, that was ovarian cancer,” she said.
The We’re in This Together Ovarian Cancer Charity Event will be held at the University of Queensland Art Museum.
“We welcome everyone to come along and join the conversation,” Ms Sever said.
“You can hear from some amazing speakers and we will have a great MC who will be running the night,” she said.
“Women who are living with the condition will be talking about how ovarian cancer has affected them, their story, and where they are now with their condition.”
“An oncologist/gynecologist will talk to all our guests about exactly what the symptoms are, how it’s diagnosed, the treatment, statistics and facts, and we’ll be giving people handouts with symptom cards that they can take home to get that conversation going,” Ms Sever said.
“We have researchers that are coming from QMIR to talk about the importance of medical research and the need for more funding, and the need for this issue to continue to be promoted,” she said.
“We developed this event to support medical research taking place at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute,” she said.
QMIR’s Ovarian Cancer Prognosis and Lifestyle (OPAL) Study is Australia’s first study researching lifestyle and other factors that may improve survival and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.
“It is quite important research taking place,” Ms Sever said.
NAMSA is a student-based association for nursing and midwifery that encompasses all undergraduate and post graduate nursing and midwifery students at UQ.
“We hold a variety of events throughout the year including social events and professional development events, and as well as that we do a lot of community initiatives like volunteering, charity work, and educational events,” Ms Sever said.
“None of the key organisers have any connection to ovarian cancer,” she said.
“We really just felt like this is something that we wanted to encourage people to talk about and to raise awareness of, that’s really the reason why we’ve decided to promote ovarian cancer.”
“[This year in Australia] more than 1600 women that will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1000 of those women will die from the disease,” Ms Sever said.
“Because the signs and symptoms aren’t as present as something like breast cancer, it is one of those conditions that can go unnoticed for quite some time and is picked up at later stages, so hopefully by holding this event and raising awareness of the symptoms and things that people can keep an eye out for, we can encourage early detection of ovarian cancer as well,” she said.
Ms Sever said NAMSA tried to do as much as they could to enrich the experience of students studying at UQ.
“[The societies involved in the event] all have the same goal in mind, which is to really enrich the students’ experiences and to make a difference,” she said.
UQ Skirts president Caitlin Reid said the We’re in This Together Ovarian Cancer Charity Event was the first time the organisation had participated in an event of its kind.
“We decided this year to join some of the other women-focused societies to do something a little bit different,” Ms Reid said.
The student-run women-in-engineering society at UQ has seven executives and approximately 300 members.
“We do a lot of society and networking events, as well as panel events, networking dinners, and a careers and cocktail event,” Ms Reid said.
“We really try to promote women in engineering and give some more support to girls studying engineering, but we also encourage guys to come along as we like to encourage gender diversity,” she said.
Ms Reid said the society was trying to do something a bit different by getting involved in the We’re in This Together event.
“This is a new area we are trying to approach and help gain awareness [for ovarian cancer], and be part of an event with a really good cause behind it,” she said.
The We’re in This Together Ovarian Cancer Charity Event is on Wednesday September 18 from 5pm to 7pm.
Tickets for the event cost $20 with all proceeds from the event going towards supporting QMIR and their research.
Tickets for the event can be purchased via the Eventbrite website.