Tag Archives: triathlete

Ovarian Cancer: Detection and Support

When I was growing up it was more of a rarity to know someone who had cancer. Nowadays it’s a rare if you don’t know multiple people who have been touched by this ever prevalent disease.

For me, it was my mum.

Mum was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer (which means it had spread beyond the ovaries) in 2004 and sadly died two years later.

CWSF4 (002)She was an extremely caring and thoughtful person, a passionate mother, loving wife, generous friend and a dedicated nurse. Mum was born and raised in Bendigo, Victoria. She graduated from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne in 1972 and completed her midwifery studies at the Mercy Maternity Hospital in 1973. Mum ended up ”walking the wards” for 37 years.

Unfortunately, as there are still no early detection tests for Ovarian Cancer – and there is a lack of symptoms in the early stages of the disease, many women are diagnosed when the tumours have spread, making it harder to treat.

This means that the lack of survivors can’t share their cancer journey and advocate to make others more aware.

Also, due to the lack of training in the area of gynaecological cancers (cancers of the female reproductive system), many women are treated as a general cancer patient rather than with specialised care.

My two older sisters, Amy and Jo, myself and two of Mum’s dear friends Marita and Janet, thought women needed specialised support on their cancer journey.

CWSF2So we established the Catherine Wotton Scholarship Fund. Our initial target to set up the fund was $100,000 (yes, my jaw dropped too when I heard this was our target!). We achieved this through various functions, breakfasts, golf tournaments, major sponsors, a now annual Cath Wotton Cup football match, bake sales, sausage sizzles, raffles and the greatly appreciated support of our generous network of friends. The comforting part is we now know this scholarship will be sustainable long into the future.

CWSF3 (002) CWSF1 (002)The scholarship provides registered nurses the opportunity to undertake further study and training in the area of gynaecological and especially ovarian cancers. The aim is to address the current shortage of gynaecological nurses, so that vulnerable women are supported and receive specialised care throughout their cancer journey.

Since 2014 the Scholarship Fund has had four recipients doing remarkable things for women with gynaecological cancers. You can see more about what our past recipients have achieved at our website.

It also aims to raise awareness of gynaecological cancers amongst women in the community.

One woman dies every 10 hours from Ovarian Cancer.

The ideal is for an early detection test to become readily available. This would enable women in the future to add a routine Ovarian Cancer test to their habitual pap smear or breast mammogram enhancing their chances of diagnosing it in its early stages. Until then, hopefully with the help of our scholarship fund, women will get specific care to treat their gynaecological cancer.

If you would like further information about this scholarship please visit our website www.cathwottonfund.org

Images: 1: Lou Wotton and her Mum Cath. 2: The Eastern Devils donning teal jumpers for the Annual Cath Wotton Cup. 3: Cath Wotton Fund logo. 4: The team that established the Cath Wotton Fund (from left) Amy, Janet, Jo, Marita and Lou.  

 

LouBy Lou Wotton

Lou is a 2017 Collingwood AFLW player, accomplished Ironman and triathlete. Lou is a She Science Ambassador and you can follow her on Instagram @wotto19.

 

Triathlete, Priscilla Barrington reviews the 2014/15 Victorian Triathlon Season.

By Priscilla Barrington, She Science Ambassador

It’s coming up to two months since the 2014/15 tri season finished, so I have had plenty of time to reflect. The past 12 months have been an absolute roller coaster of a ride, reaching heights I never thought possible and plummeting to lows I never saw coming. The highs I have thrived off and the lows I have turned into survival mode, but what I have learnt most from the past season is triathlon is not an individual sport, and the more support around you the more success you will see.

The Gatorade Series 14/15 kicked off in December and the first race was epic to say the least. The top 5 of my Age Group finished within 90 seconds of one another, and any one of them would have won any other age group. The season ahead was going to be highly competitive, and I was pumped for it! To top off the year, I signed up two sponsors, AvantiPlus Collingwood and She Science. This was a big step forward for me in my triathlon pursuits and very exciting.

 

 

At Christmas time an unexpected change occurred at home. The emotional stress affected me physically, and as my body ‘shut down’ to cope it also became very sick. With tonsillitis, a surprise (and excruciating) root canal and the flu in January I had the month off training and spent it largely in bed. I missed Race 2 in January which stung; I am not good at sitting on the sidelines but I was in no way healthy enough to race let alone train. With the emotional stress I was undergoing I was tempted to quit triathlon, but with new sponsors signed up I knew this wasn’t an option. As a competitive person I decided to take the focus off the tri season and just do what I love; running! I signed up for the Sunset Series by Start to Finish. I got along some friends to participate with, and with their support my love for exercise and training returned – plus my competitive nature! The events were brilliant, held in different fun locations across Melbourne and it was the perfect alternative I needed to get back out there.

So with a few fun runs under my belt, I got myself moving again and managed to toe the start line for the Gatorade Series Race 3 event. I gave it everything and walked away with a 4th spot. At first I was disappointed not being on the podium, it was the first time in a long time I hadn’t managed a top 3, but then I stopped to reflect and was really proud that I had even got to the start line to race, and gave it my best. I had 4 weeks until the next race and 6 weeks until the finale. I was finally physically healthy, and decided to transfer the emotional stress I was experiencing into training. For six weeks I did not miss a session and have arguably never trained harder. Race 4 in Portarlington saw me not only win my Age Group but was the fastest female of the day! Two weeks later was the final Race 5. There were three of us in my Age Group that could win the overall series depending on that race alone. I couldn’t believe I was on the start line with a chance at an overall series win with the season I had experienced! I came second in the race and second overall in the series.

I am proud, to say the least, of the way the season finished off and I know it absolutely wouldn’t have happened on my own. At Christmas time I was ready to quit triathlon. I was done with it, and couldn’t see how I could possibly train let alone race again. With the time off I was able to focus on myself and my health. Once I got that sorted, I used the people around me for strength to get back to where I wanted to be. Having sponsors on board at first felt like a burden; for the first time I wasn’t just racing for myself. Whilst I know whole heartedly they don’t care about results and are there to support me, I created that feeling of burden. But it was a positive weight and was the first step towards ensuring I didn’t quit the sport. I had my friends around me who were checking in and helping me out where required. My colleagues were also aware of my situation, and without me knowing, managed to ease my workload in the background so I didn’t drown from work pressure. My family unsurprisingly was a huge support and my mum would quietly leave me pre made meals in the fridge or run errands for me during the day. And finally I had my coach and training partners. My coach took it day by day then week by week and got me back to where I wanted to be. He was instrumental to getting me back to racing – and finishing the season with a 10km run PB – who ever would have thought that was possible!!

Whilst it was a challenging season, it is clearer than ever that you can’t do triathlon on your own. And whilst you may think you can, and you may well be currently, I can assure you will never reach your true potential. Triathlon is a team sport. You need to surround yourself with those who believe in your dreams and will assist you to get there. I have sponsors, friends, family, colleagues, training partners and coaches. Each person plays an important role, and I am grateful to every single one of them. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today, and quite possibly wouldn’t be a triathlete anymore.

By Priscilla Barrington

 

Priscilla is a serial podium finished at short course Triathlon nation wide. As her competitive side developed she fell in love with the short course triathlons as she realised she could compete more often with these distances.  Her weekly training schedule is made up on 10 different swim, bike and run sessions. Priscilla is our go-to women for all things Triathlon! Follow her via her Blog + Instagram.  

 

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