Saturday, June 28, 2008

OCNA Award Winners

On June 25th, OCNA announced this year's award winners.

Cindy Melancon Spirit of Survivorship Award
Carolyn Benivegna
Carolyn is an ovarian cancer surviver who founded the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida- Gulf Coast. She currently lives in Michigan and has advocated for the State's declaration of September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. She and her husband endowed an Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at the University of Michigan. She posts on the ACOR list and has provided invaluable information to other survivors.

The Voice for Ovarian Cancer Research Award
Karen Mason.
Karen hails from the great Garden State ( And my home turf). Karen is also very active on the ACOR list. She has been working as a patient advocate for the
Fox Chase Cancer Center ovarian SPORE and their Institutional Review Board. Recently she was a member of the Dept of Defenses Integration Panel reviewing proposals for funding by the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Great Job Karen!

Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award
Dr. Robert Bast,
Dr. Bast is the VP of translational research at MD Anderson in Houston. He developed the OC125 monoclonal antibody that led to the CA125 test. He is working on looking at other tumor markers that can be used in conjunction with the CA-125 test to better detect the disease.

Congratulations to all the award winners and thanks for all the work you do for OC awareness and research.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

LAF Fundraiser in Lacey NJ

A friend and fellow survivor's sister has organized a night of good food and fundraising for the Lance Armstrong Foundation at Applebee's , Lakeside Plaza(Route 9 and Lakeside Drive) on Thursday July 10, 2008 between 5 pm and 9 pm. Applebee's Dining to Donate program will donate 10% of your food bill to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Information about the LAF will be distributed.

A flyer is needed so leave me a comment with your e-mail and I will e-mail you a copy of the flyer.
This is a great way to support a great organization.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

OvaSure™ Ovarian Cancer Detection Test

Beginning on June 24th, OvaSure™ a test to detect Ovarian Cancer will be available from LabCorp. The test is meant for women at high risk and those at risk for recurrence. The cost of the test is approximately $225 and results will be available within four business days. The test is 99.4 percent accurate for positives (sensitivity) and 95.3 percent accurate for negatives (specificity). The test is not FDA approved. This test is the one developed by Yale.

From the LabCorp site,(click on "O" to find the reference to the test) the test includes

Leptin, prolactin, osteopontin, insulin-like growth factor II, macrophage inhibitory factor, CA-125, and a calculated risk index.

This is good news for at risk women and survivors alike.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Co-Founder of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation

Gail Macneil one of the co-founders of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation died this morning at home with her family by her side. Gail was diagnosed in 1997 with ovarian cancer. With two other survivors Patty Stewart and Lois Myers she founded the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation in 2000. KOH raises funds for ovarian cancer research and awareness. Gail was instrumental in the very successful Turn the Town Teal campaign and spent many hours introducing herself to companies in northern NJ to ask their support and sponsorship of KOH activities. She was a successful Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Madison. She and her husband Dave have two daughters and three granddaughters. All of her family, including some who visited from England, were present at the 2008 Gala in April.

I will miss her British accent and the wonderful way she had of asking people to support KOH. Who could refuse? No one will be able to fill those Teal Shoes. She was an inspiration to me and I will miss her at our monthly Board meetings. She and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Further information regarding services can be found here.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Take The Right Path - New CA-125 website

I received the following in an e-mail from NOCC :

"Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., an NOCC sponsor, launched the website Take the Right Path, to communicate to patients, family members and healthcare professionals about CA125. The site features profiles and testimonials of women surviving ovarian cancer. These profiles were provided by NOCC volunteers across the country."

You need to choose the US or Other Country on entering the site. I found the site to be informative with good links to information about Ovarian Cancer and reliable sources.
The site also provides information regarding HE-4 / CA-125 which has been shown to be a better predictor of Ovarian Cancer.

Living Well and enjoying each day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Medicare using new Compendium

Medicare is now using the National Comprehenive Cancer Network(NCCN) Drugs & Biologics Compendium to approve drugs for cancer treatment. You can find some info here
(You will probably need to sign in to gain access but it is free. )


Thursday, June 12, 2008

NCI's Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Test

Five research groups are searching for ovarian cancer biomarkers using blood samples from the Prostate,Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) cancer screening trial. PLCO , which ran from 1993 to 2001, is a trial in which women between 55 and 74 were randomly assigned to two groups an arm in which women received annual CA-125 test and one in which women had transvaginal ultrasounds.

The current research may show which markers found in participant's blood can detect OC.
For more information please read the NCI Cancer Bulletin for June 10,2008.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thanks St Joseph High School for Supporting KOH

When I stopped by St Joseph High School in Metuchen ( where I used to teach), I learned that the young men of the school will be participating in an Academic Challenge contest during the 2008-2009 school year. The Challenge is sponsored by Cablevision as part of Cablevision's "Power to Learn " service. I also learned that the faculty were offered an opportunity to compete in a Charity Challenge against faculty from another school to raise funds for the charity of their choice.
The St. Joe's team, made up of Mr. Powers, Mr. O'Boyle, Mr. Martin and Sr Ann Toner, decided that they would raise funds for the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation(KOH). In the past, I had spoken to the Principal, John Anderson, and a number of teachers and staff about my role on the Board of KOH and the need for research monies for Ovarian Cancer research. I am thrilled that the school chose KOH to be their charity . KOH will be getting a donation from Cablevision based on the points that the St Joe's teachers earned during the competition against Ardsley High School.

Thanks to the administration, faculty and staff for remembering the need for Ovarian Cancer Research and supporting KOH.

LivingStrong and proud of my colleagues at St Joe's


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Save the Date- Sept 5, 2008 Stand Up to Cancer

On Sept 5 2008 at 8 pm the program Stand Up to Cancer will be aired simultaneously on 3 networks , NBC, ABC and CBS. The driving force for the presentation is the organization Stand Up to Cancer.

Here is info from a press release provided by Stand Up To Cancer.

May 28, 2008 – NEW YORK, NY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Stand Up To Cancer, a new initiative to raise philanthropic dollars for accelerating ground-breaking research, launches today through an unprecedented collaboration uniting the major television networks, entertainment industry executives, celebrities and prominent leaders in cancer research and patient advocacy. ABC, CBS and NBC will donate one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for a nationally televised fundraising event to air on September 5, 2008 (8 pm EDT and PDT), aimed at rallying the public around the goal of ending cancer's reign as a leading cause of death.

If you are on facebook you can join the Stand Up for cancer group here.
What a great way to make cancer research a priority! I am pleased that the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Wellness Community are involved in this initiative.


Monday, June 9, 2008

2008 ASCO Annual Meeting Ovarian Cancer Abstracts

4th ASCO Annual Meeting
May 30-June 3, 2008
McCormick Place
Chicago, Illinois

This important oncology meeting included a number of presentations on ovarian cancer.
If you want to read a bit about recent ovarian cancer research check out this list of abstracts. You will find over 100 abstracts that discuss some exciting research areas.

My gynecological oncologists from CINJ attended the meeting and presented at the poster session. Their study was under the category Drug Resistance and Developmental Therapeutics.

Serum CD44 levels and response to selenium-based therapy in patients with gynecologic cancers.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Aunt Dora's 100th Birthday Party

Yes indeed you read that correctly-my Aunt Dora turned 100 years old today. A group of family and friends met at a restaurant in Elizabeth to help her celebrate. She received a proclamation from the state of NJ and also a blessing from Pope Benedict.

After my mother passed away,
Aunt Dora came to live with us. She worked full time for the state of NJ while helping to raise us. She was a great role model and I appreciate all the things she taught me over the course of my life. She traveled to Spain, Canada, Italy, Israel and Mexico and wishes she could still make those trips.

Happy Birthday Aunt Dora!!!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Spirit of Courage Award

On June 1, 2008 I was awarded the Spirit of Courage Award by the Central NJ Wellness Community. Since I was in Texas, Matt accepted the award for me.
It is a truly beautiful glass award featuring a lighthouse. This photo that I took does not do it justice.

My thanks again to everyone at the Wellness Community of Central NJ. They have helped me navigate my way through my cancer journey and have given me support and advice on how to advocate for others with cancer.

Back in NJ and LivingStrong

In the Lone Star State Part -2

Here is a bit more info about our trip to Texas.

We stayed in a lovely historic hotel in downtown El Paso called the Camino Real. It had a awesome Tiffany Dome on the first floor and a roof top pool. The staff were friendly and the rooms spacious.

On Sunday, we went to visit the El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of History. The art museum was right next door to the hotel and the history museum was 2 blocks away. The day was clear and hot - 103 degrees- so you needed sun screen for even a few minutes out in the sun. The history museum had an exhibit on Rock and Roll in El Paso with instruments and vinyl records from the 50's and another exhibit on A-Z in El Paso. A part of it was hands-on which was fun. The art museum has some wonderful local artists on display( Tom Lea) and a temporary display of art works from Chech Marin's collection. They also had a substantial baroque exhibit with a number of religious pieces. Our Lady of Guadalupe was an especially popular subject.

At 5 that afternoon Terry and Andy picked us up and we went to St Patrick's Cathedral for Mass. It was a beautiful church with a wonderful organist and choir. Then we had dinner at Ardivino's Desert Crossing a short ride from El Paso in New Mexico.

On Monday we visited Fort Bliss . Then we drove to New Mexico to White Sands Missile Range - Museum and Park. The museum had a fascinating display of history of the area. Outside was a display of rockets and missiles tested at White Sands. I would have loved to stay longer but the desert winds and high temperatures ( 105) made it tough. Drinking lots of water was important.

Our trip home to NJ brought us through Arkansas and Tennessee. We stopped outside of Memphis which seemed to be a neat city that I would like to visit again. We arrived too late to see Graceland though.

All in all during this trip I visited 5 states ( Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and New Mexico) that I have never been too before. I got closer to my goal of seeing all 50 states.


Monday, June 2, 2008

In the Lone Star State

Our trip from Jersey to Texas went very well.
First leg was to South Carolina to pack up Terry's apartment. I am still amazed at how much we could fit in the Benz and her volvo. Off we drove through Georgia and Alabama.
First overnight stop was Pearl, Mississippi. Very hot and humid there.Back in the car and we drove through Louisiana across the Mississippi River and entered Texas.
We stopped on the outskirts of Abilene. The temperatures were rising and the greenery and trees decreasing.
Last leg of the trip took us through the desert and most desolate area I have ever seen. The speed limit on Interstate 20 and then 10 was 80 miles per hour.We could never drive those speeds in NJ - just too congested and the roads have too many turns. We stopped in Pecos for gas and didn't see another food stop until Van Horn.
We arrived in El Paso and moved Terry's things in to Andy's apartment. The temperature then was 103 degrees at 5pm. I will say that there is a difference between 95 degrees and 80 % humidity and 103 and 0% humidity. Sunscreen is a requirement any time out in the sun.
We are staying in downtown El Paso at a great classic hotel.
More to come-

LivingStrong in the Big State of Texas!!!