Round 15 of the 2015/16 WNBL season, named the Teal Ribbon Round, was dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Australia and all teams participated by selling teal ribbons at each of their home games for the weekend.
For Ali Thacker, this round was particularly significant though as her mother, Ann Gates passed away at age 64 from ovarian cancer within a few months of being diagnosed in February 2001.
Ali won a signed Lightning jersey in the game night raffle and said she was honoured to have received it on a night that meant so much to her.
Ali is also the mother of Bianca Thacker, who is in MAC Adelaide Lightning’s development squad and Bianca was just two years old when her grandmother passed away. Ali said that her mother’s greatest regret was not being able to see her grandchildren grow up.
Ann was a remarkable lady who was extremely well-known in South Australia. She was the inspiration behind the founding of Interchange in South Australia and its development into one of the most successful organisations working in the area of children and young people with intellectual disabilities.
In 2009, Ann’s name was added to the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll for outstanding services to children and young people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Ann had survived breast cancer several years prior to discovering she had ovarian cancer, but unfortunately by the time Ann was diagnosed with her second illness, the disease was well-advanced (stage 4) and had spread throughout her body – an extremely sad situation for such a selfless lady.
“The problem with ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are extremely difficult to pick up and there are very few of them in the first place,” said Ali.
“Ovarian cancer doesn’t get the exposure or the funding that some other cancers get so more research needs to go into early detection and screening for ovarian cancer, thereby potentially improving the survival rates significantly.”
1,480 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, 43% of which will die within the first 5 years of diagnosis. With no early detection test available, awareness for the disease and donations are crucial to help support the cause.
MAC Adelaide Lightning would like to thank everyone who donated at the game with all funds to be passed on to assist Ovarian Cancer Australia.
To make a donation or for more information, visit https://ovariancancer.net.au/