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Published on 19 February 2024

Walk in Willunga to fight ovarian cancer

Judith Rowe died of ovarian cancer in March 2017.

“We knew nothing about it until it was too late,” says her husband, Dean Rowe.

“With almost no symptoms until it is advanced, ovarian cancer is often called ‘the silent killer’.

“Proportionally, more women die from ovarian cancer because it is usually diagnosed in its advanced stages.”

That’s why, after Judith’s death, Dean founded Judith’s Legacy to raise funds for research into early, accurate and non-invasive detection of ovarian cancer.

Judith’s Walk this Sunday in Willunga is the fund’s annual flagship fundraising event.

In addition to raising funds for research, the walk seeks to raise awareness of the disease and stories like Judith’s.

“Judith and I were regular walkers and, being from Aldinga, we liked to spend our mornings taking it all in, wandering around the nearby towns,” says Dean.

“It was back in September 2015 upon returning from one of our favourites – the walk along The Esplanade – that we first knew something was wrong.

“Judith was in severe abdominal pain and we had to call an ambulance.

“She had an ultrasound at the hospital and seven days after invasive surgery the surgeon advised us it was ovarian cancer. He suggested chemo treatment begin as soon as possible. Judith was 79 years of age.

“I was with her for every ever treatment and doctor’s appointment for 18 months, but she passed away on 8 March 2017, 14 days after our family celebrated her 82nd birthday, not knowing it would be our last.

“I was lost without her. We were married for almost 61 years after meeting on a blind date.”

Creating Judith’s Legacy has given him hope that there will be better ways to detect and live beyond ovarian cancer.

Dean, now 90, recently had cancer-research fundraising money stolen from his car at Aldinga Beach.

He says he hasn’t lost his commitment to fundraising and has set up a Go Fund Me page to recoup the money.

Judith’s Walk will be held this Sunday 25 February from 8.30am, to coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It is the 7th annual walk and would have been Judith’s 89th birthday.

Walkers can register from 7.15am at the Willunga Rose Garden and then join the crowd on the 6km journey to Kangarilla Road in McLaren Vale. They can also register online at www.trybooking.com/CKVRZ.

Funds are raised through an entry fee and go to the Cancer Council SA for ovarian cancer awareness and research.

The City of Onkaparinga is one of the event sponsors.


IMAGE: Judith's Legacy was established to honour the late Judith Rowe of Aldinga