After her ovarian cancer diagnosis, Westmead Hospital orderly Lyn is completing marathons to raise awareness and funds for the cause

Lyn O’Reilly, Orderly at Westmead Hospital, is making a marathon effort to raise funds to help women like her.

In March 2022, Lyn celebrated her 60th birthday with an overnight trip to the Blue Mountains, feeling content and fulfilled.

Little did she know that just a few months later, her life would take an unexpected turn.

In June 2022, Lyn received the devastating news from her GP: she had stage 4 ovarian cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 50 per cent.

And so began Lyn’s courageous journey of facing cancer head-on, navigating its challenges with resilience and determination.

As a staff member at Westmead Hospital, Lyn found herself receiving treatment at the same facility where she had dedicated herself to caring for others.

Despite the physical and emotional toll of her diagnosis, Lyn sought to make a difference and bring awareness to ovarian cancer through her initiative, Marathons 4 Cancer.

Marathons 4 Cancer is about finding relevance, a cause, a motivator.

Lyn O’Reilly, Orderly at Westmead Hospital

“It’s about raising awareness about ovarian cancer and raising funds to help change the story of ovarian cancer.”

Starting on World Ovarian Cancer Day, Lyn is embarking on a remarkable journey of physical activity, aiming to complete 42 consecutive days of exercise at Stanhope Leisure Centre.

Her goal is ambitious: to complete 5.5 marathons over the course of 42 days.

Despite the challenges ahead, Lyn remained optimistic and determined to make a difference.

Reflecting on her journey, Lyn emphasises the importance of exercise.

“Exercise has been very important to me for my whole life. It’s not just about physical capacity but also about mental health,” she said.

Throughout her treatment, Lyn continued to work part-time, finding joy in connecting with colleagues and patients at the hospital.

“The staff at Westmead Hospital have been wonderful,” Lyn said.

They support each other, and they support the patients. The knowledge they have to handle so many different treatments is amazing.

This World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day, Lyn urges others to listen to their bodies, to keep track of symptoms, and not to dismiss any signs that may indicate a potential health issue.

“If you have symptoms, don’t dismiss them. Keep track of what’s going on and don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.”

As Lyn continues her journey, she remains committed to making a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer.

The money raised from her Marathons 4 Cancer fundraiser will go directly to support research being undertaken in The Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre at Westmead Hospital, helping determine which personalised treatments will work best for each ovarian cancer patient.

Her message to those reading is simple: “I do hope you’ll get on board and donate”.

To support Lyn’s cause, supported by Westmead Hospital Foundation, please consider donating to Marathons 4 Cancer.