The gala will be taking place on 19 March, hosted by Debbie’s husband and close friends

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGES BY LONDON AMBULANCE SERVICE/PRAVIN NAICKER

A lawyer and London Ambulance Service volunteer, Debbie Baldwin lived and worked in Walthamstow, East London for years. She was a pillar of the community and had a vision of starting an annual fundraising gala to support the charity, Ovacome, to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Diagnosed in 2018, sadly, she died before she could realise this idea, but now, Ovacome are ensuring that Debbie’s plans come to fruition.

Throughout her career, Debbie fought to change peoples’ lives for the better. Debbie advocated for abused and neglected children, and for the mentally ill facing the death penalty in America, continuing to volunteer for the London Ambulance Service after her diagnosis. A friend and former colleague, Arona Sarwar, states of Debbie: “She was my mentor when I started my career in law and I was so grateful to her for that year we worked together. She would always be thinking of others; would always be the person to arrange work nights out, speaking up for colleagues if something was not right. She fundraised and volunteered, and she never sought praise for her work”.

The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating that does not come and go, eating difficulties and feeling full more quickly, abdominal and pelvic pain most days, and changes in urination or bowel habits. “It was like a bolt out of the blue. She had not been aware of any other symptoms”, states Debbie’s husband, Pravin. By the time Debbie was diagnosed, her cancer had reached a late stage clear cell carcinoma.

Whilst unwell, Debbie managed to raise over £1700 for Ovacome by completing a 26.2 mile fundraising walk with her father. Overall, she raised £17,000 for the charity in combination with her further efforts, and continued to volunteer for the London Ambulance Service, which she joined in 2015 as an Emergency Responder. To recognise her efforts and remember Debbie, the London Ambulance Service has further introduced the Debbie Baldwin Inspirational Volunteer Award for its Annual Emergency Responder Awards.

Antony Tiernan is the Director of Communications and Engagement at the London Ambulance Service, stating: “It is an honour to be able to dedicate this award to Debbie, and to make sure her legacy will continue to shine on through the work of our volunteers across London. Not only did Debbie devote so much of her time as an emergency responder, she also passionately shared her story to promote greater awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms to help save more lives”.

Taking place on 19 March 2022 from 6pm to midnight on the Tereza Joanne Boat at the King George V Dock, tickets are available online here. The event will be hosted by Debbie’s husband, Pravin, and a circle of her close friends.

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