The lovely thing about our Make Time for Tea parties, is now when I bump into certain people in the village they ask me ‘when is your party this year?’ everyone is waiting to come and looking forward to another lovely afternoon.
I first heard about The Eve Appeal in 2008 after I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and saw a leaflet of theirs in my hospital. I read about Make Time for Tea and knew it was something I wanted to do and be part of, I decided then and there that after I had finished my treatment and felt back in the land of the living, I would hold a tea party to raise money for research to help prevent ovarian cancer. At our first party we had about 30-40 guests which was already amazing, and now, 11 years later, we get between 70-100 guests coming through our door.
Everyone in our village and neighbouring villages knows our Make Time for Tea parties and it is now one of the events of the year, people are always asking me when the next one is. It is great that so many people come year on year, it always ends up being a fantastic day catching up with people I may not have seen for a long time, chatting and raising awareness of ovarian cancer.
Lots of my friends and family come and help run the event, donating cakes and giving their time to serve teas and coffees and clean up. Everyone who attends is so generous, and each year, when me and my husband sit and count up the income, we can hardly believe where it all came from. Even when people can’t make the day, they donate something when I bump into them in the street or they pop by house, it is so lovely to see how much people care about the cause and want to help.
I always put up a poster in my window with the amount raised, which seems to motivate people even more to drop a bit of extra cash off and watch the amount go up and up. We have even heard some boys walking home from school playing a game and guessing how much will be on the poster today. It is really a big community effort.
I feel so fortunate to have had such good treatment to be living well 11 years after I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I know a lot of women aren’t as lucky. My friends and family and I all want to help develop research and raise awareness so that other women have the same experience, or avoid getting ovarian cancer in the first place. I also see the tea parties as a way to celebrate life with all of the people who supported me when I was ill.
If we sit there and have tea and talk openly about gynaecological cancers then that is changing attitudes which can only be a good thing. Awareness of ovarian cancer and people’s openness talking about it has already changed so much since I was ill in 2008, but still so much can be done, and I am proud to join The Eve Appeal in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and do my bit.
If you have been inspired by Linda, join her and hold your very own Make Time for Tea Party: