Wellbeing of Women could not have dreamt of a better story to accompany their involvement with Goodwood’s Magnolia Cup than the headline-grabbing win for young rider Khadijah Mellah. CEO Janet Lindsay reflects on the value of this racing partnership to the charity’s ongoing work to research life-saving treatments for women and babies.
The call we’d been hoping for
I am Janet Lindsay, CEO of the charity Wellbeing of Women. At Wellbeing of Women, we transform the lives of women and babies by funding medical research into pregnancy & childbirth, gynaecological cancers and overlooked areas such as endometriosis and menopause.
We have been following the impressive Goodwood Magnolia Cup for some time and had hoped that one day we’d be a part of the event. So, when we got the call earlier this year to say we had been chosen for the 2019 race, we were over the moon. It really was a dream come true.
The Goodwood team were fantastic throughout the process. From that first call, right up until the race, they welcomed us into the Goodwood family and went above and beyond to help us get the most out of the opportunity. The day itself ran like clockwork and not a single detail was overlooked, it was a magnificent event. Not only will it raise a significant sum for the charity but also awareness of the charity and the vital work we do.
Transforming lives for generations to come
I have been with the charity for three years and it is a privilege to work with so many amazing people. From the Wellbeing of Women Research Advisory committee, an eminent and renowned group of scientists and doctors who review and select the research projects we invest in, to the brilliant researchers working on medical breakthroughs, and, of course, our beneficiaries, the women and their families who have been affected by gynaecological or reproductive health issues, such as premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth or gynaecological cancers.
Healthcare for women has improved since the charity was established 55 years ago and Wellbeing of Women has in no small measure contributed to this change. Many of the routine tests and treatments that form everyday clinical practice can be traced back to our work, such as the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and the importance of taking folic acid for the health of the unborn baby. We also funded research that linked HPV to cervical cancer, which led to the HPV national immunisation program in schools, making cervical cancer preventable for the first time.
Fundraising will support ground-breaking research
It was a record-breaking day at Goodwood: an historic win of 18-year-old Khadijah Mellah, the first jockey in Hijab, and the 12 jockeys collectively fundraising the most money for charity since the Magnolia Cup started. We were so grateful for all their hard work and it was amazing to see how they really got behind the charity.
This event will add momentum to the work that is still to be done. Still today, 60,000 babies are born premature. Being born too soon is the leading cause of death in babies and children under five. Every day 28 women lose their life to gynaecological cancers, devastating many families across the UK.
With the monies raised we will be able to invest in more research into life-threatening conditions like our work into miscarriage and infertility. Dr Jane Cleal, University of Southampton, is investigating genes in the womb lining and using latest state-of-art technology and 3D imaging to improve women’s chances of a successful pregnancy. Around one in seven couples have difficulties in conceiving and only slightly less end in miscarriage.
We are also funding Dr Hajra Khattak from the University of Birmingham to explore the effectiveness of fresh ovarian tissue autografts to prevent early menopause, as well as Dr Samar Elorbany at the Bart’s Cancer Institute who is developing a new drug to treat ovarian cancer. Over 7,000 women a year are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK. Only just over half of these women will be alive five years later. It has the highest mortality rate of all the gynaecological cancers.
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Goodwood for championing women’s health and to the riders for putting as much enthusiasm into their fundraising as their training. None of it would have been possible without the horse sponsors, owners and trainers that supported the process throughout. Thank you.