That is how many years of ovarian cancer survivorship was present at a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania yesterday.
Since the early 2000's, a group of ovarian cancer survivors who met online (ACOR, Inspire, Facebook, Smart Patients) or at the OCNA conference, gathered together in one of the women's home town for a fun weekend get together. The group has met in a variety of locations from Canada, to Missouri, to Kentucky, and Maryland. This year when I learned the get together was in Pennsylvania a little over an hour or so from my house I knew I had to attend and meet so many woman I admire.
So off I drove yesterday morning under grey and stormy clouds to have lunch with my teal sisters at the Annual Ovarian Cancer Survivor Friends Get Together. The Luncheon was sponsored by the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation as part of their mission to bring survivors together. Robin Cohen CEO and co-founder of the Foundation was there to welcome all the women to the luncheon and the Philly area.The food offered a taste of Philly from Hoagies to Cheese Steak Sandwiches to Tastycakes. Thank you Robin and SROCF .
The food was delicious but the best part of this day was meeting so many wonderful survivors in person. They came from near - Pennsylvania and New Jersey and far - Maryland, Kentucky and Illinois and Kansas. There were survivors who have helped to raise awareness of the disease in unique ways -Teal Toes, acted as patient reviewers of DOD grants, presented posters at AACR and taught medical students through Survivors Teaching Students. Most of the women have been there online offering support and prayers for others diagnosed with the disease. As we ate we talked about hair loss, neuropathy, clinical trials and tumor storage. We questioned what makes survivors of 5+ years different from other women diagnosed with the disease. We laughed. And as we looked at photos of past get togethers we teared up remembering women who were no longer with us. In that room in PA were some of the most active and inspiring ovarian cancer e-patients in the country.
Before the day ended I got to do something I have wanted to do for a long time. I went up to Helen, a 20+ year survivor of ovarian cancer, gave her a hug and told her "Thank- you"for being there for me when I was in treatment. She responded to the very first post I wrote on the ACOR listserv in 2005.
I would never have been able to say thank you in person without the efforts of Anna Marie and Yi who helped to organize the event. Thanks Yi and Anna Marie.
I can't wait to see all of you next year.
Every Day is a Blessing !!!
And I am truly blessed to have met