SUNDAY SLICE: Afternoon tea for Ovarian Cancer Australia

Host an afternoon tea this February for Ovarian Cancer Australia.

We caught up recently with Kerry Vincent to discuss this important cause, her involvement as ambassador and personal family experience with Ovarian Cancer, as well as what you can do to help!



My mother Dorothy Frances Flynn nee Farmer who passed away in 1993 (aged 70) was a family colossus with deep rural roots. Comfortable in her skin, she was just as ‘at home’ stripping down a car engine as she was in the kitchen baking a cake or dressed to the nines to go to the races or elsewhere.  ‘Domestic engineer’ fitted her to a ‘tee.’

My father Roy, also a son of the soil died young in 1978 (aged 63) of lung cancer with serious cardiac related issues. Mother nursed him for 4 years before he succumbed, but days before Dad died he asked me to make sure that she saw a doctor, he had noticed her stomach seemed odd looking. In the grief-filled flurry of his death, the funeral and a very sad Christmas just days later somehow his warning was overlooked.

I lived in Singapore at the time and  after the New Year came and went, I  returned home. The plan was Mother  would set the ball rolling with finalizing  estate issues then  come to visit me  and my husband Doug the  following    April.

The night before she was to fly to us I received a call that I will never forget, it had me literally sitting on the floor in complete shock. Apparently Mother was having severe headaches, her primary care doctor had dismissed them as widow’s weeds so she drove herself to Fremantle Hospital emergency room seeking relief. After a barrage of tests she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and was hastily scheduled for surgery the following day. Our lives changed in that moment. (It seemed Mother neglected herself while she was caring for my father and failed to have any routine testing or even her annual Pap smear.)  

The outcome? A five and half kilo single tumour was surgically removed.  Horrified, feeling surreal and still reeling Mother moved on to chemotherapy treatment with the hope that the tumour was encapsulated with no microscopic remains. This was not to be, a year later the cancer returned with a vengeance multiplied, nine new tumours ranging from egg to grapefruit size, a devastating prognosis. Her gynaecologist at the time told her,  “I can’t finish this job, you need an oncologist and the only person who can give you a fighting chance is Tony McCartney, I will try to get you in to see him.” (I was very grateful for his honesty!)

Professor Tony McCartney lead oncologist at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women began a medical friendship with my mother that lasted 15 years. Her battle was tough. Mother was one of the earliest patients in 1979 where doctors were testing chemotherapy dosages, how much was enough, but not too much, and at times I don’t know how she made it through. Much of her later life was taken up with medical tests and appointments but she never complained. When I lamented at the cards she had been dealt, she always replied, “Well, this life is the only life I have so I must make the best of it.” She often mentored younger patients at McCartney’s request because they were so afraid of the chemotherapy process. McCartney was a hugger, caring, kind and my mother loved him! He always said, “It takes two to tango, a good doctor and a positive patient.” And, they tangoed!  At the time Mother was Tony’s longest surviving patient and he was so proud of that.

Both titans, my mother was a courageous inspiration to those who followed; as was god sent McCartney who always treated every patient with respect, and gave it everything he had to effect a cure. Tragically he passed away too soon to cancer at age 70, such a loss to women.

Team Flynn – McCartney gave future hope so that ovarian cancer patients could live longer with less chemical and more targeted treatments. I know Mother and Tony are rattling their Teal cups!

Four women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each day in Australia. It must be heartbreaking and traumatizing to find oneself in this medical morass, a life changer. In fact that initial shaft of cold fear at a confirmed diagnosis will shake them to the core, so we need to do everything we can to ensure that those facing this dreadful disease are supported in every possible way. No health? Then life’s accumulated flotsam and jetsam is worthless.

When I was approached three years ago by OCA asking for my voice in support I thought it would be impossible since I was living ten thousand miles away in the USA, but where there’s a will there’s a way and in this Cyber life we lead I found a path to make contact, effect change and provide inroads to sponsors who can make a difference in tangible ways.

How can you help?

On an ordinary day there is nothing like sharing an aromatic pot of tea, delicious cakes and pastries with friends and neighbours. Let’s turn this cosy affair into something more extraordinary and create a Teal occasion and make it count for something unique and life sustaining. Teal-themed teas are all about raising awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer Australia. It is truly my honour to be an Ambassador for the 2016 Afternoon Teal appeal in February.

Hosting an Afternoon Teal during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month could be an entertaining and scrumptious way for you to offer immeasurable support. Send out the invites, paint your nails, tizz your hair, pop on a posh frock and do your bit for OCA and register your Teal here:

Now, in my mother’s name as well as my own, and every woman diagnosed I want to pick up my teal cup and encourage everyone across Australia to put the fun in fundraise and contribute to ongoing research, awareness and a potential cure. Sadly I know more people with cancer than the common cold. This scourge must be contained and eradicated. Can I count on you?

Thank you in advance for helping me make a difference!












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Supporting OCA is heartfelt especially after losing my darling mother much too soon from ovarian cancer. I am appalled that treatment has not progressed much since the seventies and that younger women are now being diagnosed.

Research is needed. Let’s put a stop to it, host an Afternoon Teal and know that your fundraising efforts WILL truly count. Patients will see immediate benefits!


From OCA Ambassador KERRY VINCENT’S recipe files

Versions of this no-bake cake have been around since my grandmother’s time. The recipe can be made days in advance as long as it is sealed and refrigerated.When cut, the walnuts and the biscuits folded into the cake add interest to the slices served. Keep the slices small, the cake is extremely rich and goes a long way.


283-grams or 10-ounce package rich tea biscuits (cookies)

113-grams or 4-ounces of toasted chopped walnuts

1-cup double cream

60-grams or 2-tablespoons Australian blossom honey

60-grams or 2-ounces butter

454-grams or 16 -ounces Guittard dark chocolate

1-teaspoon Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract


30-grams or 1-ounce butter

1-cup double cream

160-grams or 6-ounces Guittard dark chocolate

Brush an 18-cm or 7-inch round spring release pan with a thin coating of softened butter.


To prepare the cake, break the biscuits (cookies) up into generous marble-sized pieces and set aside in a Pyrex bowl.

Combine the cream, honey and butter in a small saucepan and stir and heat until barely bubbling.

Remove from the stovetop.

Add the chocolate and mix until melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Now stir in the vanilla, and pour over broken biscuits/cookies and prepared walnuts.

Tip the mixture into the spring release tin/pan, levelling the top.

Knock out any bubbles or air pockets by tapping the pan on the work surface.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight until thoroughly chilled.


Combine the butter and cream in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.

When the mixture reaches a gentle boil, immediately remove it from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until completely melted and smooth.

Carefully remove the sides from the spring release pan; if the cake sticks a bit, gently heat the side of the cake tin/pan with a hairdryer set on warm so the sides come away easily.

Upend the cake onto a cake rack set over a tray lined with parchment paper then remove the bottom of the tin or pan from the cake.

Now pour the glaze evenly over the cake smoothing with a warm offset spatula as you proceed; the chocolate glaze will puddle over the entire cake surface and completely cover the top and sides; guide the flow onto the parchment paper with the offset spatula so the cake is completely and evenly covered. If the glaze thickens just warm it again until fluid and continue as directed.

Once the dripping ceases, transfer the cake to a pretty cake dish if serving immediately or into a sealed container for storage. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

N.B. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving otherwise the cake will be hard to cut and may crack. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut.

OPTIONAL: When plating, add a few delicate flakes of 24 KT edible gold for extra decadence.

Servings: 20-25

Kerry Vincent: National ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia and television host.

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