I am Saskia van Goelst Meijer. I founded the Orange Dragon Foundation because I know very well what the impact of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer is. I have been living with this disease for several years. That is quite rare, because in most cases it is difficult to treat and life expectancy is short. I was lucky; the effect of the treatments was above expectations and afterwards I was able to participate in a drug trial, which also worked well. This has unexpectedly prolonged my life, but the disease has not gone away. I would like to make good use of my “extra time” by dedicating myself to making extra time and extra quality of life possible for others in a similar situation.
I grew up in Amsterdam, studied in Utrecht and moved to Drenthe about ten years ago. After my studies, I obtained my PhD in Humanistic studies in 2015, with a dissertation on active non violence. After that I started working as a university lecturer and started my own company in Drenthe. I was living life to the full and was busy with some great projects.
The first time I had cancer was in 2010. At that time it was breast cancer. A difficult period followed, but with a lot of support from my environment I got through it very well. After a year of treatment, I was cured and able to resume my life.
That went well until I was diagnosed with cancer again in 2017. Ovarian cancer this time. That was a big shock. As with most people, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was already seriously ill. The prognosis was not good. And the impact of the treatments that followed was huge. Fortunately, all the treatments worked better than expected and after them the disease seemed to have disappeared completely. But that did not last very long. It came back within the year.
Then I was able to participate in a “trial”, a study in which a new combination of treatments was tested. And, this was also more successful than expected. But, with all the treatments, the regular ones and those of the study, the side effects meant that I could hardly do any of the things I wanted to do. This also had a major impact. My life had been prolonged, but I sometimes wondered what it was good for. And eventually the cancer came back.
That was the moment I decided to do something which would bring me joy. For this I reverted to my old love: travelling. I decided to travel around the world in my small orange car with my dog Kaira. We are going to do our best to raise as much money as possible for research so that better treatments become available, which will help make life better for everyone with ovarian cancer!
Kaira is a German Shepherd with great ambitions. And she is about to become a global dog! When I was looking for a four-legged companion that could help me to stay active despite being ill, I met Kaira (who went by a different name at the time) in a shelter. Kaira went with me to Drenthe and made sure that, even when I didn’t really want to, I went for a nice walk every day, which did us both good!
Kaira’s name is derived from Kairos, the Greek god of opportunity, the right time to achieve something, or to get something done. And she lives up to her name! Not only is Kaira in the right place at the right time, she actually spends all day looking for opportunities: attention, tasty snacks, the best spot on the couch…
Since she discovered camping this summer and enjoyed it to the fullest, she is ready for the journey. And now that the opportunity presents itself, she likes to join the Orange Dragon. “Let’s see what we can achieve with that!”
About the Dragon
The Orange Dragon, is an orange “city bug”, a Toyota Aygo, small but brave. Vivid in color, inside and out, the Dragon is ready to explore the world. The Orange Dragon will not be intimidated by four-wheel drives, camper vans or other large vehicles that drive around the world. Born in 2012, this city car is fearless and eager to go on an adventure!