My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the spring of 2013. Now, at the young age of 59, she has gone through the full battery of ovarian cancer surgeries, diagnostics, chemotherapies, side effects, complications, and all of the triumphs and hurdles, both physical and emotional, that are familiar to many cancer patients. I’ve been making road trips back to Louisville to be with her and the rest of my family as often as possible during this difficult time. My siblings and I have always been very close to my mom, and it has not been easy to see her go through this. Just a few months before her diagnosis, she was dancing at my wedding and my sister’s wedding, and we always thought she would become such an amazing grandmother. That has been one of the hardest realizations through this journey that we have had to face.
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest cancer of the female reproductive system; each year in the United States, 22,000 new cases are diagnosed and 14,000 lives are lost. One of the reasons it’s known as a silent killer is that ovarian cancer is rarely caught in its early stages. Throughout this month, many organizations are helping to raise awareness about ovarian cancer through outreach efforts, fundraisers, walks and runs in cities across the country.
All of the nationwide ovarian cancer walks happening this month are listed at http://bit.ly/TheBridgetBrigade, including the 16th Annual Walk/Run for Ovarian Cancer Awareness benefiting ovarian cancer research and awareness efforts, presented by the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California, at CBS Studio Center in Studio City on Sunday, September 14, 2014; as well as the 6th Annual Dee Edwards Memorial Whisper Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness, presented by Ovarian Awareness of Kentucky, in Louisville on Saturday, September 13, 2014. All of these walks are family-friendly and many of the walks are also pet-friendly. Proceeds from the walks go towards ovarian cancer research and awareness efforts.
To support and honor our mom, my siblings and I have made teal wristbands available for a minimum $10 donation at http://bit.ly/TheBridgetBrigadeForm. Just as pink is the official color for breast cancer awareness, teal is the official color for ovarian cancer awareness. All wristband proceeds go directly to Bridget and the causes of her choice. My mom has always felt a special affinity with animals, dogs in particular, adopting and rescuing many canine companions throughout her life. She even wrote, recorded and published a sweet little song on iTunes called “Canine of Mine“. There are several well-deserving animal shelters that she wants to support in her honor. I’ve also been trying to spread awareness by encouraging folks to post pictures wearing the teal wristbands using the hashtag #teambridget and @thebridgetbrigade on Instagram, @bridgetbrigade on Twitter and @TheBridgetBrigade on Facebook. We’ve already had a few celebs join the cause.
If you or a loved one has been affected by any type of cancer, I have nothing but high praise for the Cancer Support Community which offers a substantial number of free services, classes, activities, events, individual therapy and support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones at no charge. It is a truly remarkable non-profit organization powered by an army of amazing volunteers.
Please educate yourself about ovarian cancer and help spread ovarian cancer awareness this month by wearing teal to show your support. TEAL = Tell Every Amazing Lady. Learn more at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.