Wife inspires fundraising feat

CANCER BATTLE: Darren Halmshaw lost his wife Pamela to ovarian cancer in October 2016.
CANCER BATTLE: Darren Halmshaw lost his wife Pamela to ovarian cancer in October 2016.

A Mirfield man is urging people to mark World Ovarian Cancer Day in an attempt to raise the profile of the deadly disease.

Darren Halmshaw, 53, an ambassador and fundraiser for charity Ovarian Cancer Action, is hoping raise awareness of the disease on Tuesday 8 May.

Ovarian cancer isn’t as well-known as other female cancers, yet it’s the sixth most common cancer in women.

Darren lost his wife Pamela to ovarian cancer in October 2016 after a 10-year fight with the disease.

Pamela had gone to the doctors in 2006 after struggling to conceive and was told she had aggressive stage 3 ovarian cancer. Treatment for her cancer was tough.

She had chemotherapy, participated in a trial for the drug Rubicon, and had to undergo radiation therapy and surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Darren said: “I was married to Pamela for 20 years. She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my life. Anybody who met her just said ‘wow’, because she was so brave.

“They say it’s not the cancer that gets you, it’s the treatment.

“That was true. The treatment was hard, but Pamela just got on with it.

“In fact, the only thing she ever moaned about was not being able to drive for two years after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumour.

“The radiation therapy also affected her mouth and nose, which also meant that she lost the ability to taste; a particularly devastating side-effect as food was part of family time – a time away from treatment.

“On the night before she died, Pamela wrote me a note on her phone to read to our daughter, Eve, who was 14 at the time.

“One of the instructions was that we should hold a fundraiser to raise money and awareness of the disease that had devastated our family.”

Darren and Eve decided to undertake a challenging 36-mile cycling trip up to Holme Moss, and were joined by a group of 14 other cyclists. The duo continue to fundraise since Pamela’s death and have raised more than £8,000 for research charity Ovarian Cancer Action.

Darren added: “It’s just amazing that people have supported us the way they have and I’m just genuinely humbled by it all.”

Visit ovarian.org.uk to find out more about the disease.