September 23, 2019
Vicki, my best friend, was only 32 when she was lying in St Gemma’s Hospice as I promised her that her death would make a difference. 
My Best Friend Was Too Young To Die. This Is How Were Honouring Her Memory
Following her terminal diagnosis of small cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT), a rare form of ovarian cancer, Vicki had a whirlwind final six months fulfilling her bucket list wishes thanks to a fundraising page that went viral.
Within weeks our fundraising efforts had raised over £20,000 and Vicki got to experience so many fantastic activities – thanks to the kindness of friends and strangers alike. Among the experiences we managed to arrange was a set visit to Netflix’s The Dark Crystal, a red-carpet screening of Les Estivants at the Venice Film Festival, a private home taxidermy class with local taxidermist Chris Elliot, and comedienne Katherine Ryan invited her to her Glitter Room tour. These were all experiences that were offered for free because people wanted to help – and all because we just asked nicely.
The sense of urgency to spend time with our beloved friend meant that Vicki’s schedule was packed. Alongside the burlesque festivals in Berlin, trips to London and one last family trip to Whitby, she had many hospital appointments and chemotherapy sessions to attend. Vicki found the strength to travel and partake in countless activities, including roller-skating, late-night partying and a family trip to Disneyland Paris, despite bitter November temperaturesIn a relatively short time – her prognosis came mid-August and was admitted to a hospice by January – Vicki found the strength to travel and partake in countless activities, including roller-skating, late-night partying and a family trip to Disneyland Paris, despite bitter November temperatures. By then her health had started to deteriorate, but the two of us still managed a couple of rounds of post-midnight bowling. 
You see, Vicki’s approach to dying was far from ordinary. In fact, those six months were extraordinary. It wasn’t a time for sadness, that could come afterwards. I’ll never forget her saying she felt sorry for her friends because, in her words: “I know how I’d feel if it was you. But I won’t be here. I’ll just be gone, so it doesn’t matter to me”. 
I appreciated the fact that creating a charity wouldn’t be a walk in the park, but I knew that it was important to me and would be a fantastically positive way of channelling grief. 
When I was sat there holding her hand in the hospice, we both felt that the situation was so unfair. She seemed too young to be dying from ovarian cancer, and we agreed her death could have been delayed, even prevented if it was caught earlier.  If only she had known sooner her symptoms were classic signs of ovarian cancer. If only her doctors hadn’t fobbed her off, telling her that her giant stomach was IBS.There and then I vowed to not rest until we had spread the word about the terrible disease and made her death make a difference. I saw what we had done with the bucket list campaign and I had faith that we could make people take notice. Vicki’s attitude throughout her whole diagnosis was inspirational, so this just seemed a fitting thing to do. I realised that if I can find anything to be passionate about at this difficult time, then I can find passion in marking the memory of my best friend. 
I’m still in recovery. When someone that you have been so close to dies it’s like you’ve stepped out of a technicolour film into a black and white one – everything around you is dull and lacks colour. But with our charity, Lemonade, we can bring some happiness to families affected by ovarian cancer and pass on the same kindness that we all witnessed with our friend.  
The charity is so-called because in the face of adversity and misfortune we are continuing to make lemonade from lemons. I saw how people came together for Vicki to create something remarkable and I didn’t want that to stop. I wanted to keep her memory alive and carry on creating positive experiences for people just like her. If we could take what had happened to her and make other women aware of the signs of ovarian cancer, then it could only be a good thing.I guess telling her that I was planning this gave her some comfort and meaning to what was happening to her, so of course I had to give it my best shot. If we could take what had happened to her and make other women aware of the signs of ovarian cancer, then it could only be a good thing. 
Vicki’s strength and attitude towards making the most out of her time was really the driving force in shaping the charity and its ethos. Even the branding, which is a kawaii (cute) uterus – cute-erus, if you will – was inspired by her love of Japan, which she sadly was never able to visit.
Seven months after our loss we now have an all-female board of what I call ‘northern powerhouses’ who are resourceful, dedicated, creative and, most importantly, compassionate and want the charity to become a success. It will take a lot of work and has already taken six months of research and planning to execute and form our CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) but even if Lemonade can help one person fulfil a bucket list wish it will all be worth it. 
Admittedly shameless and unafraid to ask for help our team of ‘Lemonadies’ have attracted offers from many kind humans who, like us, want to make a difference to the ladies in our local area. We live in Yorkshire, which has the highest amount of all cancers in the UK. Studies show that ovarian cancer cases are on the rise. It’s called the silent cancer, but the symptoms are the opposite – they are quite loud. A bloated stomach, needing to wee more and feeling tired all the time are all common symptoms that Vicki had but she wasn’t diagnosed until she was admitted to A&E with a full-term pregnancy-sized tumour to have an emergency hysterectomy. 
What Lemonade aims to do is to teach people about the warning signs of ovarian cancer by making them take notice through our events and social media – that’s why we’re using #notsilent.
What’s lovely about our story is that Vicki’s family is involved – her niece, Georgia, is busy making ‘fem-ship bracelets’ to sell at our launch party. Her mother, Enid, is planning on baking cakes for the events that we have in the pipeline. Leanne, her sister, is on the board alongside me.
The feedback I’ve had already has really spurred me on. It’s almost like we’re underdogs. Perhaps because we’re starting out and I guess because it’s kind of a remarkable thing that we ourselves are making lemonade from our, for want of a better phrase, bitter situation.
Katy Winship is co-founder of Lemonade
Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on ukpersonal@huffpost.com More from HuffPost UK Personal A Good Samaritan Saved My Life. Now I Want To Find Her And Say Thank You. My Hysterectomy Was Meant To End My Pain. It Was For Nothing. I Chose To Become A Single Mum By Donor. Here's Why.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Lee Merritt Hopes George Floyd's Murder Case Sends A Message To Police | TMZ
June 03, 2020
G2JxolNmTmY
Armie Hammer Called Out For Tone Deaf Privelaged Post | TMZ
June 03, 2020
e6h2gLvjO2E
Conor McGregor Eats Dead Bees Out Of Jar | TMZ
June 03, 2020
Q_SNIZBhZ6A
Hasan Minhaj, Kumail Nanjiani, Lulu Wang, Jon M. Chu, Ally Maki Join #Represent: Success Stories
May 30, 2020
wuCMpiZ5t6U
'Ramy' Creator Ramy Youssef on Season 2, Working With Mahershala Ali
May 29, 2020
TZk6RXM2OiI
Chris Evans Talks 'Defending Jacob' Season Finale
May 29, 2020
EJkYstFrquo
Cole Sprouse speaks out about his arrest at LA protest | Page Six Celebrity News
June 03, 2020
U-tVVwrP0AU
Leah McSweeney of 'RHONY' shows NYC protests are as 'crazy as the news' | Page Six Celebrity News
June 03, 2020
M03kAbZfYSc
Kylie Jenner faked her way to billionaire status, Forbes says | Page Six Celebrity News
May 29, 2020
BCSYS0HFHG0
Snapchat Will No Longer Promote Donald Trump's Account - "Nightly Pop" 6/3/2020 | E! News
June 04, 2020
SYr77b0wbNY
The Entire World Stands in Support of Black Lives Matter - "Nightly Pop" 6/3/2020 | E! News
June 04, 2020
iVM3dkoPr4Q
Nina Parker Reacts to Her Call to Action Going Viral - "Nightly Pop" 6/3/2020 | E! News
June 04, 2020
6GE1Pei-ZBs
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
08
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Inter Milan
08
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Manchester City
08
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Everton
08
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Betis - Real Madrid
08
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Genoa
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Tottenham Hotspur
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
07
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Sociedad
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Bournemouth
07
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Sevilla
01
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Barcelona
01
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
01
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Wolves
01
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Espanyol - Atletico Madrid
01
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Roma
29
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Watford - Liverpool
29
Feb
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Torino
29
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Chelsea
24
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - West Ham United
23
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Everton
23
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Watford
23
Feb
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Lecce
23
Feb
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Villarreal
22
Feb
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Real Madrid
22
Feb
ITALY: Serie A
Fiorentina - AC Milan
22
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Manchester City
22
Feb
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Juventus
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM 5NeCb7JxaRk
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.