As you may know, last year at Invenia Group we sadly lost our friend and colleague Simone to BRCA-related breast cancer. We have since set up a fund in her name, through which we fundraise for cancer prevention and support charities.

In the last few months, we’ve raised over £5,000 through the Simone Taylor Fund. However, beyond just donations we want to champion the work of these charities, to raise awareness of their causes and the work they do. Over the upcoming months, our Co-Founder and CEO Paul Rodwell will be sharing the stories of the charities we are fundraising for, starting with The Eve Appeal.




A few weeks back myself and a team of us at Invenia Group walked (and clambered) 24 miles to raise funds for The Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is one of the chosen charities for our Simone Taylor Fund and last week I had the pleasure of chatting to their CEO, Athena Lamnisos, to understand more about their life-saving work. Here is their story, complete with some insightful video snippets of our conversation…

With an impressive background in directing national communications campaigns in the environmental and healthcare sectors, Athena pursued her passion for women’s health and preventative medicine when she joined The Eve Appeal as their CEO 6 years ago. In this clip from the interview, Athena explains what attracted her to The Eve Appeal…



Where it all began

The charity was founded 20 years ago when – having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer the age of 32 – their founder and her husband discovered an appalling lack of screening or surveillance services that could’ve detected her condition earlier. Speaking with Athena it’s immediately clear that The Eve Appeal’s mission is rooted above anything in the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. In this clip, Athena explains more about the charity’s ambitions…




The work of The Eve Appeal

The charity operates across three main areas of work which all feed into this mission, which Athena sums up in this video.



Funding medical research

The first is funding medical research that’s focused on furthering the understanding of these cancers and developing new screening programs and tests.

Athena explains how genetic mutations are a really important area of research for them, as being able to tell women their personal level of risk of developing cancers can empower them to take necessary precautions and be particularly diligent in recognising symptoms. One particular research project funded by The Eve Appeal found that in communities with higher rates of BRCA gene alterations, which increase their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, having free and accessible BRCA testing could save 56% more lives.

Athena said, “Finding out your BRCA status gives you a lot of power if you find out at the right time, ie. before cancer’s developed, so you can be really aware of any changes, and you can make risk-reducing decisions.”


Raising awareness

Secondly, The Eve Appeal also invest heavily in raising awareness of gynaecological cancers and their symptoms through campaigns and education programs. Just last month their ‘Get Lippy’ campaign encouraged people to talk more openly about gynaecological health. They also partnered with health and beauty brands to raise funds and awareness with ‘Get Lippy’ products.

Symptom awareness can be lifesaving. Athena explains how, particularly with BRAC related cancers, many different factors can contribute to late diagnosis. In this video, Athena explains why some cancers are often discovered so late.



Athena said, “Where we want to be is that all of the [five types of gynaecological] cancers are as well known as breast cancer, that they’re easier to talk about that, the signs and symptoms are easier to talk about and that there’s no shame or stigma associated with genetic risk.”


Ask Eve

The final key function of the charity is ‘Ask Eve’, a free, expert information service that The Eve Appeal provide for anyone with questions related to gynaecological health. The phoneline and email inbox is run exclusively by gynae specialist nurses and provides information and encouragement to anyone, whether they’ve been diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer, are concerned about symptoms or genetic risk, or have a friend or family member affected. In this clip from the interview Athena explains further…


Making a difference

When it comes to what we can do to support the work of The Eve Appeal, I was keen to know if there is anything more than raising funds that can make a real difference. Athena’s advice was that as a workplace we can make a real difference simply by educating and looking after our teams in their wellbeing. Being aware of women’s health issues – from menstrual health, to pregnancies, to hormone replacement therapy – is a start. But encouraging people to look after themselves, providing free time off for appointments or screenings, etc, can be make all the difference, as Athena emphasises:




Before we wrapped up our conversation, I asked Athena what message she’d most like to share with people. I’ll finish with her words as they’ve stuck with me as I’m sure they will with you. She said,

“Think about the YOUs of the future who you want to stop getting cancer… It is about today, but it’s also so that any girl born today faces a different future than Simone.”



If you’d like to find more about the work of The Eve Appeal, you can check out their website here, or sponsor our team who are currently training for the Great North Run in aid of this amazing charity.