Glasgow man, whose wife died from ovarian cancer, funds vital research

The friends and family of a Glasgow man, whose wife sadly passed away two years ago, have helped to fund vital research into early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
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Dorothy Levine was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2018, and sadly died two years later, aged 76.

If diagnosed at the earliest stage, 9 in 10 women will survive, but two thirds of women are diagnosed late, when the cancer is harder to treat.

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Her husband, Brian, took it upon himself to look into ways he could help ovarian cancer patients in the future whilst making sure Dorothy’s legacy lives on for years to come.

Speaking about their life together and what Dorothy was like as a person, Brian, from Giffnock, said: “We met when we were very young, when we were 17.

“We were engaged two years later, and we married two years after that. We were married for 53 years. We had three children together.

“Dorothy was always interested in art, she waited until she was 51 and she went to college and completed a degree in art and ceramics.

Dorothy and Brian Levine.Dorothy and Brian Levine.
Dorothy and Brian Levine.
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“She spent a lot of time teaching on a voluntary basis to an elderly group. She did that for 15 years. The only reason she gave it up was because of the start of her ill health.”

Brian said when Dorothy sadly passed away in 2020, he immediately started thinking of ways he could help women to be diagnosed sooner.

Brian said: “Dorothy was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer which is as bad as it gets, and neither of us appreciated that.

“When she passed, we immediately thought ‘What can we do? How is it that people only find out when they’re at stage four because there are very few symptoms.’ We thought maybe we could set up a charity.

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“We had sensational treatment and we were well looked after at the Beatson, and we thought the best place to do this would be at the Beatson and after discussions with consultant, Dr Ros Glasspool, we formed the charity.

“I wanted to specifically mention ovarian cancer, so we set up the name of the tribute fund which explains exactly what it is we wanted to do, and the charity fund is called ‘The Dorothy Levine Research Fund into early diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer’.”

The research fund has raised over £10,000 since it was launched, which goes towards the IMAGINE study.

The initial aim of the IMAGINE study is to create a framework which will make it possible to obtain tumour profile data in a much quicker timeframe which could influence the choice of appropriate experimental treatments for patients.

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The study falls under the field of precision oncology or personalised medicine and is expected to recruit 200 patients over a five-year timeframe.

The research has been valued at around £300,000 and thanks to the Dorothy Levine Research Fund, Beatson Cancer Charity was able to award a grant totalling £57,000 to support the work of the IMAGINE Study. The study is also funded by grants from various institutions, including The University of Glasgow and Edinburgh College.

Money for Dorothy’s fund was raised by friends and family.

Brian said: “I think she would be impressed. I have no doubt whatsoever that if it was in her name and the family’s name, she would be very proud.”

Brian is encouraging members of the public to get behind the research fund to ensure more women are diagnosed before it’s too late.

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Brian said: “The fact that this is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month would be a magnificent time to contribute to the fund.

“It’s so important. Everybody knows it’s a very difficult thing to diagnose unless you specifically go to have a test for something else and that may reveal early stages of cancer, but the majority of women are diagnosed far too late.

“The money is to go towards research so that we might be in a better position to find symptoms at a much earlier stage.”

Martin Cawley, CEO of Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “The support our charity has received from Brian and the rest of the family has been fantastic.

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“Brian came to us not long after Dorothy sadly passed away and was determined to fundraise to support future ovarian cancer patients.

“I’m so glad we were able to help the family turn a very sad situation into funding future research to benefit others. I’m sure Dorothy would be very proud.”

You can contribute to the fund HERE.

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