Frocking up for ovarian cancer

Published 11:45am 29 September 2022

Frocking up for ovarian cancer
Words by Kylie Knight

Graham Winbank has a wardrobe of dazzling dresses ready for Frocktober when he will wear at least 31 dresses in 31 days to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

The Burpengary East resident is aiming to raise $50,000, after a spectacular debut last year in which he smashed his target of $30,000 in 30 days, amassing $36,000.

His fundraising efforts started as his wife Lisa, 52, was dying of ovarian cancer and said she would like to raise money for research. She passed away in 2020 and Graham raised $16,500 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

“Last year, I thought I would put myself out there. I’m an introverted person normally, but have had to become extroverted in October,” he explains.

When Graham’s attire raises eyebrows – at the shops, at work and at the pub – he hands those who look at him sideways a business card which explains what Frocktober is all about and lists six facts about ovarian cancer.

“From the time I step out of the house to the time I step back in, I wear a dress,” he says.

The Caboolture Hospital Day Procedure Unit Manager receives plenty of support at work from colleagues and patients.

|“I get smiles from patients. A lot of them are very supportive, especially when the staff explain why there’s a guy walking around the unit in a dress,” he says.|

“I work with an awesome team, who support me through and through.”

Frocking up for ovarian cancer

Cause close to home

His wife Lisa was 52 years old when she died, just 15 months after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“Forty-eight per cent of women with ovarian cancer have a life expectancy of less than five years,” he says.

This year, he will be wearing frocks from fashion labels across Australia after issuing a call for support on his Instagram page, including 16 from Little Party Dresses and five from Adrift Clothing.

He will have more than 35 to choose from throughout the month and will wear evening dresses at a number of fundraising functions.

There is a charity auction on October 28 at Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. from 6.30pm. There will be a range of sporting memorabilia up for grabs including a signed North Queensland Cowboys jersey (from this year), Dolphins jersey signed by Wayne Bennett, Lions and Demons merchandise. There will also be artwork and tattoo work vouchers to bid on. Local band Vixens of Fall will perform. Visit the website for tickets.

Graham says Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. has donated the bar tab for the evening and use of the venue.

Jumping Goats Bar at Margate is hosting a function on October 19, with music and mini auction, after supporting Graham’s efforts last year.

Raising awareness

Graham, 54, is active on Instagram but is also breaking out on Tik Tok this year. Search Love Your Ovaries.

He has three children and six grandchildren, who are proud of what the difference he is making.

They have planned a function in Townsville, on October 14, where they live and are planning to all wear the same style of dress.

So, what would Lisa think about Graham’s frock finesse?

“She’d think I’m mad, but I think she’d be proud,” Graham says.

Ovarian cancer facts

  • One Australian dies every eight hours from ovarian cancer
  • There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer. Most cases are diagnosed in advanced stages.
  • The development of an early detection test could lift survival rates in excess of 90 per cent and is key to saving lives
  • Ovarian cancer is Australia’s most lethal gynaecological cancer
  • If caught before the cancer has spread, survival rates are as high as 92 per cent. Only 19 per cent of cases are diagnosed early

To find out more, visit the Ovarian Cancer Research website

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