At a recent Women’s Business Network meeting I heard inspiring woman Katrina Driessen speak about her not for profit Ultimate Foundation of Hope and fundraising efforts to support Ovarian Cancer Australia.  I was impressed by her drive and vision, and thought my client base really should hear more about Ovarian Cancer.

So “over to you inspiring woman Katrina Driessen – share with us all you can about your vision.  We are listening”!


Q: Who is Katrina Driessen?

Who is Katrina Driessen? My first answer would be I don’t know..

I am a Mum of 2 beautiful children, my eldest is 5 years old (a little Miss) and my youngest is 2 years old (an absolute terror). And those that know me and most other parents out there would know – kids keep you on your toes and challenge you most days on so many different levels.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

I work 2 days a week at a local Kingston business.

I am a wife to an adorable, terribly hard working husband.

I am a person who loves to help those who need it most.


Q:  Tell us about the Ultimate Foundation of Hope you have created – and why support Ovarian Cancer Australia?

Ultimate Foundation of Hope is a brand new registered not for profit in Tasmania. We are a small group of friends, mums and business owners who have come together to help and make a difference in Tasmania.

Currently we are raising money and awareness for both our own charity and Ovarian Cancer Australia. Our (what did start as a) committee chose Ovarian Cancer as our charity of choice for our Annual High Tea event. The reason for choosing this charity? It is a charity that deserves the awareness and the attention. Ovarian Cancer affects over 1,400 every year and with the signs and symptoms similar to other less threatening sicknesses such as IBS, women are diagnosed generally too late for treatment to be effective.   Generally women diagnosed are given a 5 year survival rate.

We decided this isn’t good enough and we wanted to help raise the awareness about this cruel disease. There is no early detection tests for Ovarian Cancer, which means it’s down to us as women to know about the changes happening to our body, to our families and friends to recognize the signs and symptoms to help catch it early when treatment can be much more effective.

I will explain a lot more in some of the other questions about Ultimate Foundation of Hope and what we are wanting to achieve here in Tasmania.


Q:  What’s your story

My story….

I am 36 and I grew up in a place called Maitland which is North West of Sydney. I played representative netball growing up and then turned my attention to umpiring at state level netball.  I decided to turn my attention to working and doing what I can to help other people.

I had the most adorable Great Uncle who still to this day sticks with me. It was because this most adorable gentleman I am doing what I do today. My Uncle Ron was always raising money helping out a local group in Newcastle. Whether that be the Brass Band or a local sporting group he was always lending a hand knocking on businesses door (literally) seeking donations both cash and prizes. He was (and still is in my mind) one of those guys that sticks in your mind.  I remember a time he and I were talking and to this day, this conversation still runs over and over in my memory bank.  We were talking about how he does the fundraising things, and how he did it. Uncle Ron always would wear a collared shirt, bow tie, slacks, socks, nice shoes every time he would go somewhere. I asked him “why do you always where a bow tie, no one wears them unless they’re going to a fancy dinner”. Uncle Ron’s response. “Trieny, I wear my bow tie because it’s different. Everyone remembers me as the guy that wears the bow tie. Sometimes it’s a good memory and sometimes they just want to run {he chuckles as saying this}”


This little conversation still sticks with me today. This is why when you attend one of our events we always have something quirky happening. I don’t like doing the same old same old. I like to make a difference with a great fun memory.  I have raised money for several different charities and non-profits over the years. And if someone had have said to me all those years ago I would have my own non-profit making a difference I would have laughed in their face.


Q:  What are the barriers you faced along the way

Wow how long can this answer be? There have been many many challenges along the way. The biggest I would have to say is self doubt.  You start off with this little thought “one day I would like to start my charity/not for profit”. That little thought then became a reality when I started to talking to friends, networks and then the idea builds so much that it’s starting to become a reality. It was at this point the self doubt kicked in, “You can’t do this”, “It’s just an idea”, “How do you think you are going to do this”.

It took around 12 months to push those voices in my head a side and thankfully I have some amazing, positive influences in my lift that helped me with that. They would answer with the question “why not, it’s been your dream”.


Q:  What are you hoping to achieve short term

Our short term goals are still quite big.  Our biggest and most important is the raise the awareness of Ovarian Cancer and have people take note of the signs and symptoms. Similar to what has happened with Breast Cancer where the survival rate is much higher because of the awareness campaigns they have run. Ovarian Cancer deserves the same respect and we need to help with that.


Our next goal on the list, which by the way rates just as highly as the one above.   This is why we have set up Ultimate Foundation of Hope.

We are in the process of building and creating our very own support network for Tasmanian women, their friends and their families who have been affected by Ovarian Cancer. There are no support groups specific for Ovarian Cancer here in Tasmania and we are wanting that to change.


Q:  What are you hoping to achieve long term

Our long term goal we would love to achieve is having the support group for Ovarian Cancer patients and their support crew and then growing on that.

What does that mean, “growing on that”?

I personally would love to see our support group turn and help all women’s cancer patients. Cervical Cancer, Uterine/Endometrial Cancer and possibly Breast Cancer the list goes on. I would really love my big big dream to come to fruition and set up a cancer wellness centre (like the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre) where we can have hypnotherapy, reflexology, information sessions, workshops on many levels.


You need to have a dream right?


Q:  Can you give us some contact details