Ovarian cancer survivor gives back

Jeanette Veenman is organising an ovarian cancer fundraiser, featuring a display of old cars, in September. photograph hayley mills

Jeanette Veenman is organising an ovarian cancer fundraiser, featuring a display of old cars, in September. photograph hayley mills

Ovarian cancer survivor Jeannette Veenman considers herself one of the lucky ones.

Diagnosed stage three in 2012, Ms Veenman said doctors thought she was experiencing appendicitis after complaining of "sharp and severe" abdominal pains.

But an operation revealed something much more shocking.

"When they opened me up they found I had I had two great big tumours," Ms Veenman, 62, said.

"They were going to rush me to Monash Hospital but it was a bit risky so they decided to keep me at [Latrobe Regional Hospital] where they operated on me."

What followed was eight rounds of intensive chemotherapy, testing the Narracan resident's courage and tenacity.

A few years went by and Ms Veenman was able to "get on with life" until a terrifying experience in 2016.

"I thought 'well, OK I've made it four years. I'll be going on to five and thought I would've been in remission' but then they discovered the cancer came back," Ms Veenman, a mother of three, said.

This time it was in its second stage.

"I didn't want to do chemo again, I was tired, exhausted but [Dr] Charlie Teo said to me 'well, if you do it you could live another four years and maybe by then we will have a little bit more research to prolong your life'," she said.

"I had a 50/50 chance of survival with chemo and heaps of surgery ... and I made it, I'm here still to this day."

Ms Veenman's story of persistence and determination has inspired her to organise a fundraising event for the Monash Health Foundation, admitting she's doing it for the patients she met during her treatment who have since died.

"They discover ovarian cancer far to late," she said.

"With me, because they thought I had appendicitis they discovered it in the third stage and cancer could have spread to other organs.

"We need to have more research done on this so by the time our granddaughters come along they won't have to experience what I have."

The event will be held on Sunday, September 1 from 10am-6pm at the Narracan Falls Winery on McDonalds Track, Narracan.

Music, market stalls, classic cars, an animal farm and barbecue will be just some of the attractions.

Entry is by gold coin donation.

For more information, phone 0490 784 727.

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