Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mary Anne Mazanec OC Foundation Fundraisers

Although I never met Mary Anne, I do know Tom Mazanec and have met his family. The Mary Anne Mazanec Ovarian Cancer Foundation not only raises awareness of ovarian cancer but also financially supports women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families and supports the cancer research efforts of Dr. George Coukos at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. 

If you live close to any of the fundraising locations drop on in for a good time and to support a good cause. 

Sunday, June 2, 1-4 PM - Upcoming Fundraising Event: 2013 Zumbathon at La Belle Fit in Cherry Hill, NJ, featuring La Belle Fit Instructors, with all proceeds matched and donated to MAMOCF. $15 advance registration; $20 at the door. Gift basket raffles. Contact the studio for advance tickets if desired: 856-429-2290 - or just come and pay at the door! Great fun no matter what your fitness level!
MAMOCF Benefit Concert at Tierney's, Montclair, NJ
Date: Friday, June 21, 2013, 9:00 PM
Location: Tierney's Tavern
136-138 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ 07042
Event Details: Live performance with music by Kids with Guns, the Porchistas and a band to be named later. Upstairs at Tierney's.
Ticket price: $10/person cover charge; cash bar.
For tickets and further information contact:  Tom Mazanec at 609-330-3361 or email at
Fightin' for Teal at Whistler's Inn, Cinnaminson, NJ
Date: Sunday, August 11, 2013, 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Whistler's Inn
901 Route 130
Cinnaminson, NJ 08077
Event Details: Enjoy the "Fightin' Philadelphia Phillies" televised baseball game and all-you-can-eat pulled pork, wings, and fries.
Ticket price: $20/person; cash bar.
For tickets and further information contact:  Tom Mazanec at 609-330-3361 or email at
Fourth Annual BBQ and Craft Fair
Date:  Saturday, September 14, 2013, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location:  Maranatha Christian Fellowship
802 North Lenola Road
Moorestown, NJ 08057-1041
Event Details: In addition to our usual event, this year's theme will include an apple festival.  Enjoy a gourmet barbecue feast, basket raffle, and vendors providing a variety of food, home decor, gifts, housewares, sports equipment and memorabilia, jewelry, and children's toys.
Ticket price: $20/person; children under 13 free.
For tickets and further information contact:  Tom Mazanec at 609-330-3361 or email at
Fourth Annual Zeal for Teal Benefit Dinner
Recognizing Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2013, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: Tre Amici al piccolo forno
628 Ocean Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
Event Details: Enjoy a five-course meal with wine included. This great dining experience features the creations of Chef Matthew Zappoli, Food Network's "Chopped Champion." Enjoy live music, donate for chances to win your favorite gift baskets, and purchase from our own "Teal Boutique."
Ticket price: Tickets will be available for purchase during summer 2013.
For tickets and further information contact:  Mike Mazanec at 609-304-2180 or email at
Heel for Teal Dog Walk, Cinnaminson, NJ
Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Location: Memorial Park, Lenola Road, Cinnaminson, NJ
Event Details: Enjoy a lovely fall wall with your favorite canine friend(s). Vendors, refreshments, entertainment and t-shirts for human participants!
Ticket price: $25/dog (humans free)
For tickets and further information contact:  Tom Mazanec at 609-330-3361 or email at
Laudate Chorale Concert, Moorestown, NJ
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2013, 4:30 PM
Location:  Maranatha Christian Fellowship, 802 North Lenola Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057
Event Details: Enjoy a diverse musical experience with this 50-member chorale, led by professional choral director Steve Lucasi.
Ticket price: $20/person.
For tickets and further information contact:  Tom Mazanec at 609-330-3361 or email at

Every Day is a Blessing!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sandy Rollman OC Foundation -Phillies Fundraiser

Join the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation on Monday, September 16 at Citizens Bank Park for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Night with the Philadelphia Phillies & Dollar Dog Night!

Phillies vs Miami Marlins
@7:05 PM

To purchase tickets, click here. The link is
Deadline to purchase tickets is July 26.
Make sure to wear your Phillies shirt designed just for us (design is above)! To order shirts, click here.

Mailing Address:
Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation
2010 W. Chester Pike
Ste. 410
Havertown, PA 19083 

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Jolie Buzz

Over the past few days the world has been talking about Angelina Jolie's op-ed piece in the NY Times about her choice to have a preventative mastectomy.  When I read the article  and a few other pieces I learned that Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand had died of ovarian cancer when she was 56. I also learned Jolie carried the  BRCA mutation. I don't remember hearing about Jolie's mother until now.

Then the hoopla started. People supported her. People opposed her decision. People said she did it cause she was famous and it was a disservice to women. The twitter stream was alive with comments. The post "Brainless and boobless actress chooses mutilation over common sense" in particular prompted many comments from breast cancer survivors. Then there were more level headed opinions such as  "Don't Judge her..." , "Angelina and Mastectomy..." and "Opinion What Angelina Forgot to mention". 

I think much confusion is caused because there needs to be a greater understanding of what risk means when it comes to cancer. If you want to learn more about the risk of ovarian cancer there is a great video produced by NOCC in their Ovarian Cancer Education Series called Understanding the Genetic Risk for Ovarian Cancer. It features Dr Kristin Zorn. It is long but worth viewing.

All I can say is that I believe that Angelina made an informed decision that was the best option for her and celebrity or not she had every right to make the decision.

If she decides to have her ovaries removed I support her 100% but would like her to think about getting her fallopian tubes removed too- more and more research is citing that Ovarian Cancer may originate in the fallopian tubes.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NY - Survivor's Course

I thought many of my readers would be interested in this Ovarian Cancer Survivor's course presented by the Foundation for Women's Cancers. Here is the info I received in an e-mail. I have attended two courses in the past and learned information I found helpful as a survivor.

The Foundation for Women's Cancer is pleased to announce its upcoming Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course!  This course will be held Saturday, June 8, 2013, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm in New York at NYU Langone Medical Center, 550 First Avenue at 31st Street, New York, NY. The Foundation is pleased to offer this FREE course for all cancer survivors, friends, family members and others who are interested in hearing from the leading U.S. experts in ovarian cancer research.  These experts will share new information about ovarian cancer, and time for questions and answers, as well as networking with other survivors, will be provided.

Registration is required.
Please visit the Foundation Web Site to register today!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Love / Hate Relationship with Mother's Day

My mother passed away due to a brain tumor when I was very young. When I was in elementary school I didn’t like Mother’s Day at all. I hated art class before this particular holiday. Why? Because we were always told to make Mother’s Day cards for our mother’s. I felt sad and different. I would make cards for my Aunt Dora who I loved and treated me like a daughter. As I got older and would give Aunt Dora flowers and Hallmark cards with the sentiment “ You are like a mother to me” she would thank me and then say but I am not really a mother. Yeah, I knew that but she was the next best thing. When she passed in 2011 I felt like I had lost my mother all over again. 

After I met Nick I gained another woman into my life who was like a mother to me, my mother-in-law, Nettie. She welcomed me into her family and I loved shopping with her, clothes or food it really didn’t matter. She even came with me as I picked out my wedding gown. We grew closer through the years as I had children and she shared her words of wisdom on child rearing with me. She did a great job raising 5 children - 4 boys and 1 girl into caring, hard working adults.We visited her yesterday and even though she was not sure who I was, she showed sparks of the Nettie I once knew when she called my grandson Mr Apple Cheeks. 

I really didn’t enjoy Mother’s Day until I myself had children. I enjoyed being a mom and being pampered on this special day. I  loved my kid’s handmade cards. As they got older, the cards became “mushy” Hallmark cards. Some made me laugh and all of them brought tears to my eye. Now they live out of state and they send cards and call. 

But Mother’s Day got better in May of 2012. When I got the first card in the mail addressed to Grandma Dee. That card was from JT,  my daughter’s son. This grandmother job is lots of fun and I am honored to be a part of my grandson’s life even if we only see him a few times a year due to the distance they live from NJ. 

I still get a bit sad around Mother’s Day.  This year it happened when I posted a photo of my mom from the late 50‘s on my Facebook page.  And again when I looked at a photo of my niece’s son . My sister Roberta would be so proud of the mother my niece has become. And I was sad that breast cancer took her from us before she could feel the joy of being a grandmother. 

But I was also very happy this Mother’s Day as I opened the card from my son which included a beautiful book mark and again when he called. Then there was the text and photo my daughter sent. My grandson eating gnocchi. Now that made me smile and happy to be a Mother/ Grandmother on Mother's Day.

Every Day is a blessing. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Every Women is at Risk- World Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day !

This is truly amazing. It is a first for ovarian cancer.
Twenty seven organizations and seventeen countries around the world are celebrating World Ovarian Cancer Day today. Women in these countries are going to wear teal, the awareness color of ovarian cancer. They will  talk about symptoms and risk factors and raise awareness. Since I was diagnosed I have often thought that there are many wonderful organizations raising awareness and funds for research but we need one voice. I am so happy to see that is happening today.

Why is this day necessary?
Ovarian Cancer has the lowest survival rate of any gynecologic cancer.
All women are at risk for ovarian cancer.
Many women think that the Pap Test is a screening test for ovarian cancer. It is NOT!
Many women do not know that there are Ovarian Cancer symptoms.
The global diagnosis rate for ovarian cancer is a quarter million women.
Approximately 6500 women are diagnosed with OC in the UK every year.
Approximately 25000 women are diagnosed with OC in the US each year.
Approximately 1400 women are diagnosed with OC in the Australia each year.

What can you do? 
Share these symptoms with other women and if they last more than 2 weeks please see your gynecologist.

Eating less
Abdominal pain 
Trouble with your bladder 

For more information:

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yesterday - Happy and a Bit Sad

Yesterday was May fifth, Cinco de Mayo and it was also my son's 27th birthday. We were not able to spend the day together since he is studying for his PhD and living out of state. I was a bit sad we couldn't be together but it is actually pretty normal for us. In the past 6 years I think we were only together once. We have come to celebrate his special day when he is away with a text, a facebook post and gift sent by snail mail. Happy Birthday Matt!

Yesterday was also a big day for my son's girlfriend, Amanda.  She was graduating Summa Cum Laude from Auburn University. The ceremony was held in the arena but from the photos I saw it was a wonderful event. I'm sorry we missed the festivities. Congratulations Amanda.

Yesterday was The 7th Annual Teal Tea. The Teal Tea Foundation's mission is to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer and to support research into an early detection test. Since moving to Mercer county I have become involved with the Teal Tea Foundation and in the past I was a  table captain. This year I attended and sat at a dear friend and fellow survivor's table.The theme was Under the Sea and our table was decorated with teal jelly fish.The table captain and decorators won two prizes for the beautiful design. I was so happy to be able to attend and support this wonderful foundation and see so many fellow survivors, caregivers and supporters .

Part of the Teal Tea's  program this year involved remembering four women who were supporters of the Teal Tea who lost their lives this year to gynecologic cancers.

Ann, Pam, Shirley and Rita Kay 

They were also members of the support group at CINJ that I attend and I have written about them and the group in the past. ( It Never Is Easy,  A Friendship Ended Too Soon, One Less Women of Teal - Rita Kay ). This is where the sadness came in to my day.

The first speaker was Ann's husband.  He spoke as photos of Ann and our support group flashed on the large screen behind him. Toward the end of her life when Ann was in a wheelchair Don would drive her and then sit in the waiting area reading. He recalled how he did not hear angry voices or crying but rather laughing and cheering. He told us how much the group helped Ann. I could feel myself getting upset and my eyes started to tear up. But then he read through the list of things that should remind us of  Ann. One of those things was seeing a grey heron. Well, the tears flowed freely as I thought about the grey heron I saw by the pond that morning and he was right I had instantly thought of Ann.

I met Shirley's daughter and granddaughter for the first time yesterday and I felt like I was in Shirley's presence once again. Love and respect were very important to Shirley as was her Faith. Shirley frequently spoke of her Faith with the group and how it helped her face so many tests and trials. When Shirley's daughter spoke she described her mom's love of her family and especially her grandchildren. And when I closed my eyes I could imagine Shirley back in the room and again my eyes teared up.

Then our social worker and the moderator of our group Julie was invited up to speak about Rita Kay. She described Rita Kay's work and wonderful sense of humor as well as her interest in sports and travel. But when she spoke of her being one of the initial group members ( like I am) and mentioned the signature neon green Crocks that she wore to almost every meeting the tears once again flowed freely. Sitting next to me was my gyn-onc. She rubbed my shoulder and asked if I was ok.  I turned to her and said " Not really but I will be". I took a few deep breaths- said my mantra ( With God all things are possible. ) and slowly looked up wiping away my tears. Julie ended her talk with what I and many of the women in the group have told her.  It is painful to loose so many friends to cancer but we would rather have the relationships we built at group then to have never known these women at all.

And she is 100% right about that.

Every day is a Blessing!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

From Family to Frankly Speaking to Patient Centricity

It sure has been a busy week for me. We returned home from seeing my daughter and her family in Kansas early in week. It was great attending my son-on-law's change of command ceremony

and being able to spend time playing and reading to my grandson. They will be moving in two weeks to California for Andy's next assignment.  I thrilled that I will be able to visit them in sunny California later in the year.

Then I jumped right back into  my role as a survivor and advocate. On Wednesday,  the Cancer Support Community - Central New Jersey invited my gyn-onc,Dr Gibbon to present a noontime Frankly Speaking about Gynecologic Cancers presentation. There were about a dozen women in the audience so it was very easy for it to be more of a chat with questions and answers than a lecture. Dr G did a great job making the science of ovarian cancer and it's treatments understandable. Some of the topics she spoke about were risk factors, current treatments, genetic testing, precision medicine, vaccine therapy and parp inhibitors. 

Thursday I spent time prepping for my participation at the 10th Annual Patient Summit USA 2013. I was invited by Wego Health to be part of a panel discussing patient centricity. 

The Summit day arrived on Friday.  I drove the hour into Philadelphia to the  Hilton and was able to attend the morning sessions which included talks on understanding your patient as the end-user, proving the value of patient programs and an excellent presentation by Emily Freeman, Pfizer on Shared Treatment Decision Making(STD). STD brings the patient on an equal standing to the physician regarding treatment for chronic illnesses. Then a bit of deja vu occurred when Walter Berghahn spoke about supply chain safety with a focus on drug packaging. ( I worked in packaging for a number of years.) He highlighted ways to achieve better patient adherence. 

At lunch I met up with the Wego Health team and health activists. I am in awe of the advocacy work and endevours of these activists. Then it was time to take the stage with Melissa Barnhardt, Wego Health, Tiffany Westrich an autoimmune rheumetoid arthritis activist (  and Scott Benner a diabetes activist ( 

I offered the following recommendations to the audience from the pharmaceutical industry:

  • Patient centricity is about treating the whole person not just the disease.
  • Speak to patients in laymen's terms.
  • Use infographics to explain information and processes
  • Reach out to Advocacy groups to diseminate information.

I am so pleased to have been a part of the movement to give patients a voice. Thank you Wego Health.

Every Day is a Blessing!