Ovarian and breast cancer are linked together with the BRACA genes. In the world of cancer statistics if you have been tested and have this genetic mutation your chance for one or the other of these cancers or both is likely. Even if you don’t have this known genetic mutation, the links between ovarian and breast cancer are still a concern. For this reason I call Ovarian Cancer the ugly, deadly killing stepsister of Breast Cancer. Think of Breast Cancer as Cinderella and Ovarian Cancer as her stepsister with bipolar and off her medications and carrying a loaded hand gun and you get the idea.
Last week I went to a funeral of a friend of mine who died from Ovarian Cancer at age 53, five years after her first diagnosis. She was a great person, and it is very sad that she is gone. Her name was Sherie. She was a 6th grade teacher for 30 years, and also ran a summer program for pre-teen girls and did tutoring. Her husband added up that she had taught or mentored over 6,000 students.
After her diagnosis, Sherie realized that there were very few empowering events for ovarian cancer survivors. No large walks, charity fund raising events or recognizable logos. Sherie set to change this by starting her own foundation, http://www.shocfoundation.org, to raise the awareness of ovarian cancer. She even started an ovarian awareness walk. The importance of all of this is that ovarian cancer kills so often that there are not that many survivors. There is no definitive diagnostic test for ovarian cancer and many patients by the time they are diagnosed are in the later stages of the disease. Sherie wanted to help to change that reality. Her foundation to date has raised close to a million dollars of which much is donated for ovarian cancer research.
This August at her foundation’s walk, Sherie was there, looking thin but thrilled to have so many survivors and friends participate. The start for the walk is at a huge parking lot of a big Harley Davidson dealership in the small suburb that she taught in for all these years. A woman’s roller derby team starts the race. Cub Scouts and Camp Fire Girls flag the street crossings. The eclectic crowd and surroundings is proof that cancer can touch everyone. I will miss Sherie, but her husband, daughter and son, and her foundation’s board are continuing her fantastic work.
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