Thursday, September 10, 2020

OC Awareness Month and Memories

This September seems to be flying by. It is hard to believe that we are already at day 10 of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

In the past, I would post almost every day about symptoms, types of ovarian cancers, genetic mutations in ovarian cancer, treatments, awareness organizations, and fundraisers. This year since I missed 10 days already, I will shoot for 4 - one per week.

This year is different in so many ways due to the COVID -19 pandemic. Educational events are postponed, cancelled or offered online. Fundraising events involving large crowds are not taking place. Instead there are banquets and auctions on Zoom. Walks, runs and rides to raise funds for research are all virtual.  I won't be walking with family and friends on the boardwalk to support research through the Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation. Instead I will be walking by myself, mask on, around my town on Saturday, September 26th.

While we don't yet have a screening test for ovarian cancer, I am happy to see some progress being made in treatments for women with ovarian cancer using PARP inhibitors. I am excited to see teal ribbons in towns in every state in the nation. (Teal is the awareness color of ovarian cancer.) I love to see photos of buildings and bridges outlined in teal lights. Survivors and their families are doing their best to raise funds and awareness of the disease by painting their nails and toes teal, wearing teal ribbon pins and earrings and teal t-shirts and tying teal ribbons around trees and lightposts.

To be honest with you though as much as this month makes me smile with all the teal and fundraising but it also makes me sad. Over the past fifteen years, friendships with many women who were also ovarian cancer survivors came easy. We met at in-person support groups or on Facebook or Twitter or the old ACOR listserv. We volunteered to serve on Boards of local OC awareness organizations. We sat at the same table at fundraising events and would hang awareness ribbons. Many of my friend's lives were cut short due to ovarian cancer, taken too soon from their families and their communities. Janice Lopez is one of those teal women . 

Sparacio and Lopez Families

Our families would gather together in late August to hang teal ribbons in Edison, NJ. We were both diagnosed in 2005 with similar symptoms. We sported our short haircuts together as we hung ribbons back in 2008. But on September 6th, eleven years ago ovarian cancer took her from her family. To honor her they formed the Janice Lopez Ovarian Cancer Foundation. They continue to raise funds for research  and I continue to support their mission.

This year Elie, (in the stroller in the photo) Janice's granddaughter created a PSA for her family's Foundation. Please take a moment to watch. 

I urge you to support ovarian cancer research this month. You can make a difference and save women's lives.


Every Day is a Blessing!