Mr & Ms Ovary on Tour
This September, Craig McMurrough of Royston, Hertfordshire, together with his good friend and neighbour, Sarah Temple, embarked on another annual running tour of the UK to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and to raise funds for the UK’s leading ovarian cancer support charity, Ovacome.
Craig, the 51-year-old human resources director and Sarah, the 46 year-old clinical Development director, kick-started their tour spanning Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month with a public collection in Brighton City Centre on 3rd September.
A long-term fundraiser, Craig has been committed to publicising the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer ever since he lost his sister Cheryl to the disease six years ago, just three weeks after she was diagnosed.
Because there is no screening test for this less common cancer and its warning signs are often mistaken for symptoms of less serious conditions such as IBS, Craig believes that making the general public alert to the disease and its implications is crucial.
To highlight these, Craig, otherwise known as Mr Ovary, and Sarah (Ms Ovary) will once again don their 6ft foam ovary costumes with Ovacome’s B.E.A.T signs and symptoms acronym emblazoned across his back:
B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go,
E is for eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly,
A is for abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days and
T is for toilet changes in urination or bowel habits.
“It means a lot to me to make a difference in memory of Cheryl,” says Craig. “The costume makes quite an impression and will help people remember the symptoms I talk about. People even come up to me in the supermarket to say hello, having met me wearing the ovary costume”.
Paired with his persistence, the suit has transformed the father-of-one into a world record breaker. In July, after three years of pounding the nation’s streets in the costume, collection bucket in hand, Craig was awarded the world record for successfully completing the 2021 London Marathon in 7 hours and 5 minutes whilst sporting the ovary suit.
For Craig, “If somebody recognises the symptoms and goes to a doctor and gets checked out, it’s worth it. Don’t ignore them.” Sarah, who recently lost her mum following a late-stage bowel cancer diagnosis, is “a keen advocate of helping to both educate through awareness and encouraging the confidence to be persistent with the medical profession when you feel something just isn’t right”.
Craig adds, “Any publicity that we can get for spreading awareness about ovarian cancer is greatly received and is such a great opportunity to share the message”.
To date, Craig has completed 30 races for Ovacome and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro where he laid a photo of Cheryl and an Ovacome T-shirt at the summit. His charitable work has also garnered recognition from the Daily Mirror which made him a finalist in their Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year award for Anglia West in 2020.
Over their 6-week tour encompassing the iconic Great North Run and London Marathon, Craig and Sarah hope to edge closer to reaching their £100,000 target for Ovacome. The pandemic has increased isolation amongst those diagnosed with ovarian cancer and created a greater need than ever before for the organization’s remote support and information services.
“Julie will be joining Craig with some of his fundraising as someone affected by cancer over the past few years. In 2019, Julie was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer a genetic condition often linked to the BRCA1 gene which can also cause ovarian cancer. After completing chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery for the TNBC, she was also subsequently impacted by cells changing in the proximity of the ovaries which required the need for further treatment. Julie hopes to be able to help raise awareness having been through various conditions firsthand and raise funds for targeted life saving research.” Julie
If you would like to view Craig and Sarah’s tour dates or donate to help them raise vital funds to ensure that Ovacome can continue to support anyone affected by ovarian cancer, please visit www.ovacome.org.uk/fundraisers/mr-and-ms-ovary-tour-2022
If you have any questions or concerns about ovarian cancer or the signs and symptoms outlined, please contact Ovacome’s support team on 0800 008 7054 (weekdays 10am – 5pm) or at email@example.com