A MERBEIN mother whose 15-year-old daughter died because of ovarian cancer has appealed to other girls and women to know the signs of the “hideous” disease.
Giovanna Ienco – affectionately known as “G” – was just 14 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Just 10½ weeks later, on July 11, 2012, she was dead.
Her mum Angela, who has made it her mission to raise research funds and awareness, said her only daughter was “ravaged and literally consumed” by the 10kg tumour.
“In those weeks her suffering was incredibly horrible – we who witnessed it will never forget.
“The memory of this has haunted our whole family. We were, and are still, devastated. No other child, woman and their family should ever suffer the torture and grief that ovarian cancer caused our family.”
Mrs Ienco has urged women and girls to make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
“Ovarian cancer is really hard to detect – there’s no early detection,” she said.
“Usually with ovarian cancer, it’s detected when it’s too late, that’s what happened with my daughter.
“I just want people to know that ovarian cancer is real and it is deadly.”
G’s illness first became evident when she was trying to lose weight.
“She lost it everywhere, except for her belly,” Mrs Ienco said.
“She didn’t feel pain because (the tumour) grew out like a pregnancy – when you’re pregnant you’re not in pain, you’re uncomfortable.”
While admitting that some days she wishes she could “stay home and crawl into bed and not face anyone”, Mrs Ienco said her fundraising and awareness campaigns since her daughter’s death had offered her some form of comfort.
Mrs Ienco raises money for the Royal Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House – where G stayed during her treatment – as well as previously taking part in Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Afternoon Teal campaign.
Teal is the international colour for ovarian cancer.
However, this year, after initially not having the energy to organise anything for Afternoon Teal in February, Mrs Ienco is encouraging the Sunraysia community to this month get behind the G Teal Appeal in her daughter’s name.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Monday's Sunraysia Daily 03/03/2014.