Frocks can be romantic. Ovarian cancer is never romantic. That’s why I’m frocking up and joining in Frocktober, an Australian campaign to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and to raise funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
Every ten hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia. That’s one woman, every ten hours, who never gets to see a happy ever after with her loved ones. Because symptoms of ovarian cancer aren’t clear and the disease can strike without warning, it’s often not diagnosed until its late stages, significantly reducing the chances of survival beyond five years. But there’s not yet an early detection test, and that’s desperately needed as survival rates increase markedly when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.
A key goal of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is therefore to raise ovarian cancer awareness and vital funds for the development of an early detection test that will save women’s lives. That’s a cause I’d like to support, and Frocktober is a great way to join in with women across the country to do just that.
Now, those of you who know me are probably scratching their heads, trying to remember seeing me in a frock! The truth is, I haven’t worn one for at least seven (or more) years, although I have very occasionally worn a skirt. I put on a lot of weight while I was dealing with the brain aneurism procedures from 2008-2011 as I couldn’t exercise hard, and then post-surgery infection damaged one leg, so I’ve been living in Target cotton trousers and t-shirts most of the time, with good trousers and loose tops for the conferences and other events I go to. For a whole lot of reasons (excuses?), shifting the weight has been hard, and there’s still some great clothes hanging in my wardrobe that I won’t be fitting into anytime soon.
So, for Frocktober, I’m going to commit to wearing at least one dress per week. In public. Both for the fantastic and worthy cause that it’s supporting, and to give myself the motivation to start rebuilding my self-confidence about my appearance and getting more serious about losing some weight.
Now the funny thing about committing to this is that yesterday when I made my decision, I had only one dress in my wardrobe! No, I’m not going to go out and buy a heap of dresses, because that’s not in the spirit of the campaign – the theme this year is ‘Love the frock you’re in’ and participants are encouraged to dig out neglected frocks from the back of the wardrobe, find op-shop treasures, be creative and make things, and/or swap between friends. I’m going to sew from my (not insignificant!) stash of fabrics and make some dresses, and today I found what might be a treasure in an op-shop.
At least one day a week in October, I’ll wear a dress. That’s my commitment. Yesterday on Facebook I invited others to join me, and we’ve formed a Frocktober team – and what better name for a group of romance writers, readers and friends than Romancing the Frock? Our team so far includes fellow suspense writers and good friends, Helene Young and Amanda Reynolds-Smith; my niece Lauren and my sister-in-law Trisha; and my friends Alison, who I’ve known since we were just 7 years old, and Tara, who I originally met through the local knitting crowd few years ago. We’re aiming to raise $2,000 for ovarian cancer research so that more women have the chance to lead long, happy (and romantic!) lives. If you’d like to support us, you can donate on our Romancing the Frock team page on the Frocktober site. Even a few dollars – the cost of a cup of coffee – can go towards helping to save women’s lives.
Today, I wore the one dress from the back of my wardrobe when I went into town. The extra challenge today was that this morning’s temperature was minus 2 – although fortunately the sun shone and warmed the air up before I had to go out! I did, however, need a cardi over the top of the dress. So here’s me, Romancing the Frock for week 1 of Frocktober:
And you know what? Despite being short and too-round, despite the swollen scarred ankle, despite being a long way from fashionable… I did love the frock I was in 🙂