Sunday, August 31, 2008

Turn the Town Teal - Edison, NJ

Today was a beautiful day in Edison, NJ. This afternoon I helped to turn Edison teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. We received approval to hang the ribbons a day early so that some of us could attend the Rutgers -Fresno St football game on Labor Day. The Turn the Town Teal Campaign was spearheaded by Gail MacNeil , co-founder of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation.(KOH) who passed away in June of this year . KOH, collaborated with the northern NJ NOCC and Atlantic Health to turn over 120 towns in NJ teal. That is three times the number of towns as we had last year.

Nick and I, together with Janice another Ovarian Cancer survivor from Edison and her family, put ribbons on over 30 trees leading up to and around the Edison municipal building and parking lot. Once we were done there we drove over to Amboy Avenue in the Clara Barton section of Edison and put up a few more ribbons. We will finish hanging ribbons there after the Fall Festival ( Sept 13,14).

On Tuesday Mayor Choi will present us with the town's Proclamation of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Special thanks to the Mayor's staff, Jerry, Lori and Jennifer for making all this happen.

Continuing to LIVESTRONG,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walkathons to Raise Awareness of Ovarian Cancer

There will be a number of walkathons in central and northern NJ to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and funds for research.

Sunday Sept 14th:
Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation Walkathon ( Online registration will be available shortly.)
In Memory of Gail MacNeil
Loantaka Brook Reservation
Morristown NJ

Sunday Sept 21st:
Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation Walkathon ( Online registration will be available shortly.)
Richard DeKorte Park
Lyndhurst ,NJ

18th Annual West Orange Downtown Classic
(Registration online)
"Mayor's 5K Run/Walk to Break the Silence"
Benefits the Northern NJ NOCC

Saturday Sept 27th
Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation ( Online registration will be available shortly.)
600 Ocean Avenue( On the Boardwalk)
Avon , NJ

So bring your walking shoes and walk for a good cause!



Ovarian Cancer in the News

The September issue of the Ladies Home Journal has an article WOMEN'S "SILENT" CANCERS. There does not seem to be a link to the article online.

This past Sunday in the Courier News was the article Two Central Jersey woman spread the word about ovarian cancer awareness . It features two women from my Northern NJ NOCC group. You can find the very informative, complete article here. Good Job- Ellen and Lynn!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

President Proclaims National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we remember those whose lives have been affected by this deadly disease, and we underscore our commitment to battling ovarian cancer for the sake of women around the world.

Each year, thousands of American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Many will lose their lives to this disease. Because ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, it is vital for women to make regular visits to their doctors for screenings and to discuss risk factors and warning signs. Early detection is the best way to help doctors diagnose cancer before it has a chance to spread. It also makes treatment more effective and increases the chances for survival. I encourage all women to learn more about preventive measures and screening options that may help to save their lives.

America leads the world in medical research, and my Administration remains dedicated to the fight against ovarian cancer. I signed the "Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005," or "Johanna's Law," that helps to raise awareness among women and health care providers about female reproductive cancers. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting important research to help make the innovative advances we need in order to eradicate this disease. NIH's Cancer Genome Atlas is also helping researchers gain a greater understanding of the genetic sources of cancer. Together, we will continue building on our progress until there is a cure for cancer.

As we observe National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we honor those who have fought this disease. We also recognize the compassionate caregivers, doctors, and researchers who are dedicated to preventing, detecting, and treating ovarian cancer.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2008 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, businesses, communities, health care professionals, educators, volunteers, and the people of the United States to continue our Nation's strong commitment to preventing and treating ovarian cancer.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


I look forward to all the activities coming up in September in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month from hanging ribbons to walkathons to conferences.

Friday Sept 5th is Teal Day so please wear teal and check out the early morning talk shows for lots of women in teal.




Monday, August 25, 2008

A Fabulous Philly Challenge

What a weekend! The weather was good and the fund-raising even better. Almost $3 million was raised for the LAF's fight against cancer.

I had the unique opportunity to attend the Fundraising Appreciation Dinner on Saturday night. It was held in Constitution Hall in downtown Philadelphia. What a nice venue for the event to honor those who worked so hard to support the LAF and to make cancer a national priority. We heard Dr Harold Freeman speak as well as Lance and Doug. There was an award given to a woman( I don't recall her name.) from team LoveStrong who had over 600 separate donors and an award to the team from Calgary Canada who had 30 members spend the last two weeks cycling to Philadelphia to ride in the Challenge. The winning fundraiser was David Wilson ( $54,000+) and his team MBA ( over $65,000). I got a chance to see Brian and his wife, Rob and his mother , David and his wife and Alexis. (Thank you Eric R. and Brian for giving me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful event.)

I walked this Challenge in my Nike LIVESTRONG sneakers. All those mornings spent in Donaldson park and the long walk home from New Brunswick last week paid off. I walked the 5K ( 3.1 miles) in 45 minutes and 6 seconds. I know the Challenge is not a race but I wanted to walk faster than last year and I did and that made me very happy. Walking faster and getting handed that yellow rose as I walked through the survivor's chute brought tears to my eyes. I got teary eyed again as Kevin rode through after his 10 mile bike ride. 2 Survivors- 2 Challenges priceless.

Team 1 REASON raised $5800. It included 3 bikers( Kevin- 10 miles, Dennis- 40 miles and Chuck- 100 miles) , 1 runner ( Rob) and 7 walkers ( Alycia, Linda,Mike, Jeremy, Kelly, Caitlin and myself). Kevin has special shirts printed up for our team. They said "Team 1 Reason" on the front and "Supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation " and "In memory of Erin Gorman" on the back. We thought of Erin as we started off our walk and the announcer said, " There goes team 1 Reason. Walking in memory of Erin". Actually as I picked up the pace I knew I was walking with Erin by my side.

I had the opportunity to see two of my former students on Sunday. Tim G. celebrating his 5th year as a leukemia survivor and his dad walked the 5K. Paul L. rode 70 miles in honor of family members and friends. I was happy to be able to cheer Paul on as he approached the finish line. I am so proud of Tim and Paul.

Thanks to everyone who supported me, Team 1 REASON and the LAF. Unity is strength and together we can make cancer a national priority.

Remembering that every day is a blessing!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge Weekend

I am getting ready to leave for the LiveStrong Challenge in Philly. I am proud to say that so far I raised over $800 for the LAF. Our team - 1 Reason - has raised over $5000.

Thanks so much to everyone who donated to the LAF. Together we can make a difference. The country will look at what we will do in Philly and all the other Challenge locations and we will make cancer a national priority!

I will LiveStrong....


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some Good Things and New Information

I'll begin with a new piece of information and then get in to the good things that are happening.

New Ovasure Information:
It has come to my attention through a posting on the Ovarian Cancer Alliance Support Community that the new OVASURE ( Yale blood test ) being used by LabCorp is not meant to be used by women without ovaries. This test looks at the levels of 6 markers, in addition to CA-125, found in the blood. ( I wrote about this in June and July . ) It was previously recommended for women at high risk and those at risk for a recurrence.

So I checked Labcorp's online information and it has now changed to include this line
"OvaSure™ is not indicated for a patient who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, who has had both ovaries removed, who is pregnant, or who is lactating. "

Since many women with ovarian cancer have their ovaries removed they can not use this test to indicate a recurrence. Guess we are still stuck with the CA-125 test for those of us without ovaries. Glad I didn't spend the $200 to have the test done. It might have just confused my follow-up care. More research is needed!

Edison Will Turn Teal!

Along with Chuck Lopez, I will be hanging teal ribbons again this year in my town Edison, NJ. Mayor Choi is hoping to have a press conference during the first week in September in which he will read the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Proclamation. Thanks to Jerry Barca, the Edison Communication Director and the Mayor's Assistant , Lori Williams for all their help with this. The Turn the Town Teal Campaign is sponsored by the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, the northern NJ National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and Atlantic Health.

Woodbridge will be Teal too!
As a Board member of Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, I was asked to speak at the Woodbridge town meeting on September 2nd about Turn the Town Teal and Ovarian Cancer. Chuck Lopez and a number of volunteers will hang the ribbons on Main Street in Woodbridge, NJ.

Wachovia Highland Park Branch to display Ovarian Cancer Awareness Information!

In September my local branch of Wachovia will provide space for me to display information about ovarian cancer and symptom cards in the lobby. A huge thanks to branch manager Valerie for providing me this opportunity.

St Paul's Bulletin with Ovarian Cancer Information

The Sept 7th weekly bulletin for St Paul the Apostle Church in Highland Park will contain information about Ovarian Cancer. Thanks Dee C for finding space for this important information.

I've raised $760 for the LAF!

Only $240 to go to reach my goal of raising $1000 for the LAF. The team 1 Reason lead by captain Kevin Walty has raised over $3000 so far. With a few days yet to go I am positive we will raise even more. To donate please visit-
I can't wait until Sunday to walk with my LAF friends.

So although I have not posted recently I have been a busy person.

LiveStrong and remember that Every Day is a Blessing.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Last Year's Challenge - This Year's Challenge

I am sitting here by my computer not sure what to write. I pick up the framed photo that has sat next to my computer for the past few months. It is a photo of our team from last year's Philly Challenge. We were team 3 Beat Ca to celebrate the three of us who had survived cancer. The team included Kevin a testicular cancer survivor and his wife, my niece, Alycia, and Kevin's friend Rob; Erin , Alycia's long-time friend and bile duct cancer survivor and her parents, aunts and another one of Erin's friends and myself an ovarian cancer survivor. What a fun group, we laughed as we walked drank water and ate pretzels. Erin and I had a special bond being diagnosed only months apart in 2005. We spent time talking about her future liver transplant and chemo brain . We talked about Alycia's wedding in 2006. Both of us had finished chemo just a few months before. We finished the walk getting our yellow survivor roses at the same time. We hugged and as Kevin came through the chute to get his yellow rose the three of us embraced. This year will not be the same.

Erin passed away yesterday, August 14th.

This year our Philly team is named 1 Reason- to fight cancer. Erin was a fighter. We will continue the fight for Erin. We will remember Erin and Cousin Charlie, my sister Roberta, my Mom Helen, my Dad Robert, my Aunt Lillian,my Aunt Lee, my Uncle Tommy, my cousin Tony ,my Cousin Carol , my friend Marie and countless others.

We will make this disease a national priority.We will not forget why we walk. We walk for Erin.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Good Man

Charlie was a good man.
Charlie was a good husband to Annette.
Charlie was a good father to his children John, Steven and Kathy.
Charlie was a good grandfather to Elizabeth, Michael, Jennifer,Benjamin and Caleb.
Charlie was a good teacher in the Chatham school district.
Charlie was a good Boy Scout leader.
Charlie was my good cousin.

Today I attended the funeral of my cousin Charlie. In January of this year, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. On Friday August 8,2008 he succumbed to complications of his illness. At his funeral mass the priest said Charlie lived from the inside out. He always had a smile on his face and happily gave his time and talents to his family, friends and church.

When I think of what it means to LiveSTRONG, I think of Charlie.
He will be missed.



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Newton Motorsports Pro Tennis Classic Benefits KOH

Today I drove north to beautiful Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey. It was the site of the Inaugural Newton Motorsports Pro Tennis Classic at the Lake Mohawk Tennis Club. Marc Macler organized the event and chose Newton Memorial Hospital and Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation(KOH) to receive proceeds from the event . A highlight of the event for me was seeing pros Justin Gimelstob and Jan-Michael Gambill play.

I helped at the KOH information table. The rain held off for the most part and it was great to see teal in the stands. This event really helped get the word out in Sussex County about Ovarian Cancer.

The table ( as seen above) featured our new teal ribbons for our Turn the Town Teal campaign!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vote for Rachel

Fellow cancer survivor and blogger , Rachel Baumgartner Lozano , has been nominated for Glamour Magazine's Women of the Year.
After reading her story on the Glamour website I'm sure you will vote for her like I did.
She is remarkable survivor!

LiveStrong and Make Cancer an National Priority!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cancer Hope Network Training

When I was first diagnosed with Ovarian cancer in 2005 ,I did not know any other ovarian cancer survivors. In September of that year, I called the number (1-877-hopenet) for Cancer Hope Network - which offers one-on-one support for cancer patients and their families. Interestingly, this organization is located in NJ my home state. They matched me with a woman in North Jersey who was a stage III Ovarian Cancer survivor of more than 7 years. It is hard to describe the relief I felt being able to talk to someone who knew exactly how I felt. She was also diagnosed at 50 and had similar chemotherapy treatments. I got off the phone thinking - if she can do this so can I.

Well, today I took a step to pay back that hope filled phone call by being trained as a Cancer Hope Network support volunteer. The day long training included learning how volunteers are matched with patients / caregivers, reviewing of the Cancer Hope Network policies and ethics and the actual procedures. We even had a chance to practice our skills with the CHN staff playing the parts of fictitious patients.

If you are one year or more post treatment you can be a volunteer. Questions? Call and speak to their friendly Patient Service Coordinators ( 877-467-3638)



Friday, August 1, 2008

LiveStrong Army - Central NJ on Facebook

Help make cancer a national priority.

Check out the LiveStrong Army- Central Jersey on facebook.

Please ask your friends to join.

Unity is Strength.

LivingStrong and making Cancer a national Priority