Jumping to combat mum’s ‘silent killer’

Oxford Mail: Gemma Allen will jump from a plane at 13,000ft in memory of her mum, Denise McLeese, who just days after it was confirmed she had ovarian cancer Gemma Allen will jump from a plane at 13,000ft in memory of her mum, Denise McLeese, who just days after it was confirmed she had ovarian cancer

A GRIEVING family is raising awareness, and cash for research, into a “silent killer”.

Just before Christmas, Denise McLeese, 63, went to see her doctor because she had pains in her abdomen.

Nine weeks later, just days after doctors confirmed she had ovarian cancer, the grandmother-of-four died.

Next month her daughter Gemma Allen, 31, plans to skydive from 13,000ft to raise cash in her mother’s name for research into the disease that has left her family devastated.

Mrs Allen, of Russet Road, Ardley, near Bicester, said: “She was like the glue to the family. Now we can see how much we took for granted and how much she held the family together.

“It’s hard trying to come to terms with what’s happened.

“She would do anything for anybody. She was very homely, very family orientated.”

Mum-of-three Mrs Allen, a call handler at South Central Ambulance base in Bicester, said her mum’s GP told her tests showed she had cancer, but a scan and biopsy would confirm it.

She said: “It was confirmed on Monday, February 17, and she died on the Friday.

“From first symptom to when she died was nine weeks.

“I had never heard of it happening so quickly. The doctors did say it had been growing for a while and it was aggressive.”

As well as raising money, Mrs Allen wants to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease.

She said: “With what happened to mum it has made me scared of how things can change so quickly.

“It’s known as the silent killer – there’s no screening or testing available.

“The symptoms can be just common abdominal pains – it’s just scary.”

Mrs Allen had decided to do the skydive just after her mum was diagnosed with cancer and had hoped she would be watching her from the ground.

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But she believes when she takes the plunge her mum will be with her every step of the way.

Mrs McLeese, of Glory Farm, was married to Dennis, 67, and had another daughter Sara McLeese and grandson Finley, eight.

She had retired a few years ago after working at Oxfam’s Murdock Road depot for more than 20 years.

Mrs Allen jumps at Hinton Airfield, just across the Northamptonshire border, on Saturday, April 12, and will be cheered on by husband Kevin, 38, and children Ellie, 11, Keira, nine, and Riley, four.

So far, Mrs Allen has raised almost £1,600. To sponsor her view justgiving.com/ jumpaheadofcancer/

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

ACCORDING to the NHS, symptoms of ovarian cancer
are difficult to recognise, especially in the early stages, and can be similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or
pre-menstrual syndrome
(PMS).
The main three symptoms are:
Increased abdominal size and persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly, or feeling nauseous

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