"I'm back in Shanghai trying to get my life back to 'normal' after a somewhat turbulent 5 month period. Life won't ever go back to normal though. My name's Josh, and I'm a teacher, son, friend, brother, and person who has been closely touched by Ovarian Cancer.
When diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2019, my Mum, Mary-Anne Ryan, was one of the healthiest 56-year-olds you could imagine.
She went to the gym, did yoga, ate a healthy balanced diet, and walked the dog every day. She was mentally fulfilled, stimulated, and happy.
Mum passed away on March 7, 2021. 15 months and almost 2 weeks after she was diagnosed and treated with some aggressive chemotherapy.
She leaves my dad, Steve, my sisters, Bethany and Elena, her sisters Patsy, Debbie, and Shani, her parents, Laurie and Pam, and I, heartbroken but determined to raise awareness in her name, memory, and legacy. This is just one means.
I was very lucky to have had the chance to fly home to Melbourne, quarantine and spend those last precious moments, cuddles, hand holding, and conversations with mum and the family.
My motivation for taking part in Dry July is purely thinking of my beautiful mum, Mary-Anne Ryan, and "something interesting to do" that would make us happy:
1 - Me taking a break from alcohol definitely would as I love a beer or 10.
2 - Raising funds and awareness for the cancer that took her life.
Some very subtle symptoms were present in the months leading up. Bouts of fatigue and some stomach discomfort. Never would she have imagined that it was Ovarian Cancer.
Both women and their doctors mistakenly attribute the symptoms to 'common female complaints', and they delay taking further steps. Mum was an incredibly proficient nurse who was able to diagnose health conditions on others seemingly at the click of her fingers after observing for a moment. Ovarian cancer flew under the radar for her because she mistakenly attributed her symptoms to ageing and menopause.
There is still no clinical early detection test for Ovarian Cancer, even though we're in 2021.
It is a myth that a pap smear will detect Ovarian Cancer.
Its onset is fast, and the effects are devastating.
As much as I am here to raise funds, I am also here to spread awareness.
If you have a mother, sister, wife, best friend, neighbour, who has ovaries, talk about them.
Learn the symptoms.
Mum was actually just the best person ever. We're so lucky to have had her in our lives, but she was taken too soon.
Mum had a phenomenal selfless capacity to rear us in an open minded and charismatic manner even though her personality was introspective and non-abrasive.
She had an incredibly healthy relationship with herself which was key to her parenting prowess. Here are some of her rules for life: