Flashback to late 2020. Avoca Beach local Karen Gower was reading an old magazine on the train.
Featured was an article for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month from February that year, which prompted her to get tested for the disease. Within a week, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
While Karen was surrounded by an incredible support network, it was her son Jack who stood by her side throughout the challenging journey.
"My son actually shaved his head too... it was actually quite a liberating moment" she said.
"My hair was my identity, like a lot of women, and I was devastated. But my son, he was just amazing and said 'Mum look, you look beautiful the way it is."
With two recurrences since her initial diagnosis, a powerful story of love and support unfolded as Jack emerged as a pillar of strength, forging an unbreakable bond with his mother.
Now, the 56-year-old is urging Australian women to take their health into their own hands and insist on being tested early.
She has joined fellow survivors Renata Potoczky, Narelle Lawrence and Luisa Niglia as the faces of Black Pepper's 2024 Ovarian Cancer Awareness month campaign, running throughout February.
As part of it, two specially designed scarves, a top and blouse are available through the fashion label, with a portion of sales going to not-for-profit organisation Ovarian Cancer Australia in a bid to raise $100,000 to support women with ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer, which remains Australia's deadliest female cancer, claims the life of one woman every eight hours.
According to the organisation, there are multiple types of ovarian cancers.
In epithelial ovarian cancer, it starts in the cells lining the surface layer (epithelium) of the ovary. It is the most common type of ovarian cancer, accounting for nine out of 10 cases. It most often affects women over 50; the average age of diagnosis is the early 60s.
Depending on the subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer, treatment may involve clinical trials, surgery or chemotherapy, among others.
Known risk factors include age, with the average age of diagnosis being 64; hereditary factors; having endometriosis, a previous breast cancer or diabetes; being overweight; and smoking.
Symptoms include a bigger tummy size or persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain feeling full even after not eating much, and needing to wee often or more frequently.
For more information about the disease, click here.
For information about other types of cancer in Australia, click here.