In 2006 I saw a commercial on TV. It started with people in shorts, T-shirts, and hats, all wearing some form of teal or a teal ribbon. “I run for my Mom,” one woman said. “I run for my sister,” said a young man. “We walk for awareness,” said two parents holding young children. The footage moved to the end of a 5K and people celebrating and a voice over came on. “Did you know the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer diagnosed after it has spread to distant organs or lymph nodes is 26.9%? This stage is also the most likely stage for ovarian cancer to be diagnosed at, with 61% of women being diagnosed at this stage. Run with us the Saturday before Mother’s Day to fight ovarian cancer and raise awareness.” The race was sponsored by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
I was incredibly moved by the ad. What would I do if something happened to my mother? Or my sister? Or myself? Everyone talks about breast cancer, but I had never even heard of ovarian cancer. I got on the family computer and found the following: “A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 72. A woman’s lifetime risk of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 95. The overall 5-year survival rate is 44%.”
I talked to my family, and my sister and I canvassed the neighborhood asking for money, and raised more than our entry fees for the race. My family and I have run that 5K every year the day before Mother’s Day since then, and I started a group on Facebook called Spread Ovarian Cancer Awareness, which you should feel free to join! We had several thousand members until Facebook reformatted their groups and we had to restart from scratch.