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Who we are

Who we are

The leading national body taking action for Australians affected by ovarian cancer.

While Ovarian Cancer Australia sprang from humble beginnings our founders' aspirations have led us to become the leading national body taking action for Australians affected by ovarian cancer.

Sheila Lee was a catalyst for ovarian cancer advocacy, and for what was to become Ovarian Cancer Australia. After being diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 1999 at the age of 54 Sheila was shocked that the survival statistics were unacceptably low compared to other more high profile cancers. She recognised the deep heartache of thousands of families severely affected by ovarian cancer each year. With no other charity in Australia solely dedicated to ovarian cancer, Sheila saw an opportunity to help others in a similar situation.

Sheila died peacefully at home in November 2000, with her husband Simon by her side. Simon promised to continue the journey they had embarked on together through the establishment of a charity to continue her work.

Along with four of Sheila’s friends and collaborators who were also affected by ovarian cancer- Denise Hynes, comedian Lynda Gibson as well as Nicole Livingstone OAM, the Australian swimming Olympic champion and current General Manager of AFL Women’s Football along with her sister Karen Livingstone - Simon founded OvCA in 2001. The organisation became Ovarian Cancer Australia in 2008.

Sheila Lee - founder of OvCA

Sheila’s dream for women and their families to be connected, share their stories and speak out and to receive supportive care remains central to the ethos of Ovarian Cancer Australia. We pledge our commitment towards changing outcomes for people impacted by ovarian cancer and that no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone.

Today the team at Ovarian Cancer Australia is made up of 35 passionate nurses, psychologists, counsellors, advocates, fundraisers and more who deliver our free and holistic evidence-based support services and advocate for increased research funding and better treatment options for women living with ovarian cancer.

International affiliations

World Ovarian Cancer Coalition

We are proud to be a member of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, which includes over 140 cancer patient organisations worldwide, working together to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. The World Ovarian Cancer Coalition is a not-for-profit organization, formally established in 2016, working across the globe towards a world where every woman with ovarian cancer has the best chance of survival, and the best quality of life – wherever she may live.

Ovarian Cancer Action (UK)

Ovacome (UK)

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (USA)

Ovarian Cancer Canada

New Zealand Gynaecological Association

Association of Those Affected by Ovarian Cancer (ASACO, Spain)

Target Ovarian Cancer UK

Cross sector collaboration

Cancer Council Australia

Cancer Australia

Australia New Zealand Gynaeoncological Oncology Group (ANZGOG)

The Australian Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists (ASGO)

Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF)

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA)

Read more about

Our Board

Ovarian Cancer Australia is governed by an expert Board dedicated to achieving our vision.

Our Team

Each day our team strive to drive change for women affected by ovarian cancer. 

Our history

Our history makes us unique. Learn more about the legacy of Sheila Lee and the history of our charity.

Acknowledgement flags

Ovarian Cancer Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where our office is located, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.