About Cure Our Ovarian Cancer

Cure Our Ovarian Cancer's mission is to help women with ovarian cancer live better, longer lives.

Founded in 2018, we are the only dedicated ovarian cancer charity in Aotearoa.

In New Zealand ovarian cancer is the leading cause of gynaecological cancer death.  Survival rates are less than half breast and prostate cancer. Cure Our Ovarian Cancer's goal is to help people be diagnosed earlier, feel supported through their journey, receive better treatments and fund research to find a cure.

Within New Zealand we work with patients, health practitioners and researchers to improve ovarian cancer outcomes by targeting 4 key areas:

  • Awareness and Education
  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Research

We have a special interest in an overlooked and poorly survivable younger women's ovarian cancer called low-grade serous and we also work with patients and researchers around the world to improve access to information and empower their patient community to fund their own research, for the benefit of New Zealand women living with this specific cancer.

In 2021 we were honoured to receive an Impact Award from the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition in recognition of our work in New Zealand and overseas.

Cure Our Ovarian Cancer is a New Zealand registered charity.

Learn more:

Our Impact

Ovarian Cancer

Our Trustees

Jane Ludemann

Jane Ludemann

Jane Ludemann is the founder of Cure Our Ovarian Cancer and runs the day to day operations in an unpaid, volunteer capacity from her home in Dunedin. Jane freely gives her time to help donations go further because she knows first hand how much need there is in the ovarian cancer community.

Prior to her cancer diagnosis Jane was an experienced optometrist who worked in public and private practice in New Zealand and Canada. She has a lifelong love for learning and in addition to a BSc and her BOptom(Hons) she was part way through a Masters in Accounting and Finance when she was diagnosed.

Jane was initially shocked to discover the lack of awareness and support for ovarian cancer patients. "You should check out... oh you have ovarian cancer" was a common refrain. But as a health professional what concerned her most was the lack of systems and research which is crucial to improving survival.

While Jane is proud of the huge difference Cure Our Ovarian Cancer's education and support activities are already having - her main passion is sustainable, systems change. In other words looking at the big picture through an evidence based lens and thinking about what Cure Our Ovarian Cancer can do as an organisation to put in place self sustaining initiatives. Significant changes that not only help women now, but continue to have significant impact far into the future.

Liz Pennington

Liz Pennington

Liz brings an extensive range of skills through her leadership experience in the not for profit sector and experience as a Registered Nurse, management consultant working in mental health and wellbeing, and work with communities experiencing psychological trauma.

Liz was motivated to join Cure Our Ovarian Cancer after hearing Jane do an "amazing" presentation at parliament. She has a heart for ovarian cancer because of the personal experiences of her good friend, the late Gaylene Kepka. Gaylene inspired Liz to make change for good.

Liz is particularly passionate about consumer designed services and ensuring that the ovarian cancer community feel listened to and have a strong voice. She has been instrumental in the development of Cure Our Ovarian Cancer's support meetings.

Liz is originally from Hawkes Bay and lives at Lake Rotoma in the Bay of Plenty and is a devoted nan to her three granddaughters.

Alana Allan

Alana Murray Portrait

Alana is an operations leader in the legal sector, with experience across change management, technology, strategy, organisational performance and financial services.

Based in Christchurch she is passionate about contributing to society, with a special emphasis on not for profit governance. She has held a number of board positions including roles with the RSA, Pregnancy Help, CAANZ and Dunedin Budget Advisory.

After attending a powerful talk by Jane Ludemann in 2019, Alana knew if an opportunity came up to support Cure Our Ovarian Cancer that she would. That opportunity appeared in 2021 when Jane sought to fill Trusteeship positions. Alana’s vision for COOC is to see greater awareness & support of Ovarian Cancer rise whilst helping to grow COOC's reach in the advocacy and research space.

Dr Alicia Didsbury

Alicia in the lab

Alicia has been working on cancer immunotherapy at Auckland University for 12 years. Her first exposure to ovarian cancer was following the diagnosis of a family member. She was shocked to discover the relative lack of research internationally, and clinical trials locally for such a common cause of cancer death.

This led to a career pivot into ovarian cancer research and ignited a desire to address the systemic inequities faced by ovarian cancer patients.

Alicia is passionate about making ovarian cancer an attractive field for New Zealand researchers. She believes that due to the relative lack of international research, there are significant opportunities for New Zealand researchers to make an impact on the global stage, while helping local wahine live longer. She is currently helping develop an international mentorship program for our local research grant recipients.