'I adored that girl and I’m determined to give meaning to her death'
The best friend of a Chapel Allerton pub manager who died of ovarian cancer aged 32 is not allowing the Covid pandemic to get in the way of a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms in a bid to save lives.
Katy Winship helped launch a bucket list appeal to help Mustard Pot assistant manager Vicki Aldwin fulfil her last wishes.
It raised more than £20,000 and Vicki, of Oakwood, was able to fulfil wishes including learning taxidermy, visiting Berlin and going on a trip to Disneyland Paris.
Despite failing health, Vicki also travelled to London, and Venice with her friends and family in the three months before her admission to St Gemma’s Hospice.
After Vicki died at St Gemma’s in January 2019, Katy, 35, pledged to help set up a charity in her memory.
Katy, of Chapel Allerton, co-founded the Lemonade charity with the dual aim of raising awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer and providing bucket list experiences for Yorkshire women under 50 with terminal ovarian cancer.
Lemonade held its first fundraising Spring Ball at the Mercure Parkway Hotel on Otley Road, Leeds, in March 2020.
The charity, which is set to hold its second birthday ball at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds on September 18, has been trying to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer online during the pandemic with paid advertising.
The main symptoms are a bloated stomach/persistent stomach pain, difficulty eating/feeling full quite quickly, unexplained weight loss, constantly feeling tired and needing to wee more than usual.
Now Lemonade has launched a poster campaign in ladies toilets across Yorkshire to raise awareness about symptoms and dispel myths about smear tests.
Katy, who works as a marketing executive, said: "The biggest misconception for women's health is that a smear test detects ovarian cancer, but it does not - it is used to detect cervical cancer."
Recalling Vicki's bucket list adventures, Katy said: "That time was magical and a welcome distraction from the bitter truth that our young, beautiful friend was confronting death.
"For me, the bucket list campaign was a way of coping and not facing up to the reality that my best friend would never watch me marry and vice versa.
"She’d only be a memory and I wasn’t ready to think about that."
Vicki was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the ovary in October, 2017.
She was in remission until August 2018, when doctors at St James’s Hospital said the cancer had returned and her condition was terminal.
Katy said: "Vicki was the sister I never had. I’d been close with her since Abbey Grange High School and we spent three years living together in our twenties - days I consider some of the best of my life.
"I remember her telling me her terminal diagnosis news over the phone.
"She was so calm and matter of fact. There and then I saw my world collapse and I couldn’t take anything else in, I just called a taxi so that I could go and sit with her. She wanted to drink wine, so that’s what we did.
"I adored that girl and I’m determined to give meaning to her death.
"I wanted to continue to make lemonade from lemons and didn’t want to let go of the memories - I needed to make my Vicki proud."
Katy said the group of Vicki's friends involved in the charity refer to each other as 'Lemonadies.'
"They are a fantastic group of superwomen," said Katy.
"Many of them are busy mums who volunteer their time outside of work to help us with our cause and help raise awareness so nobody else has to lose a friend at 32 to this disease.
"We’re focussing on the awareness part of Lemonade’s mission.
"We are speaking to young women in the same situation that Vicki found herself in so that, together, we can help raise awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer."
During March, ovarian cancer awareness month, Lemonade encouraged supporters to run a mile a day and raised over £2,500 in sponsorship.
Anyone who wants to get involved in helping the Lemonade charity or can make a donation, is asked to email [email protected]
Katy said the charity would like to hear from businesses who want to display posters in their ladies toilets and may be in a position to offer Lemonade financial support.
Lemonade's Second Birthday Ball will be held from 7.30pm on Saturday September 18 at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds.
Lemonade is appealing for anyone who can donate raffle prizes for the ball to email [email protected]
To buy tickets, go to www.tickettailor.com/events/lemonade1/517932
For more information and for more details of ovarian cancer symptoms, go to to www.we-are-lemonade.co.uk/
Follow Lemonade on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lemonadecharity/