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Almost 3 years ago Melanie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the time we knew little about the disease, and even less about what her diagnosis would mean.
Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, like all cancers, is a shock to the system. It rocks the sufferer personally obviously, but also shocks that person’s entire network. People step up to help; they provide incredible support and caring. You quickly find out just how wonderful your close network of family and friends can be. Some do shy away, either out of discomfort, or fear, but they are by far the minority.
Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare cancer, so most women don’t think about it, and it gets little press. But it is a very cruel cancer as well. It has few symptoms, and even fewer treatments. We were surprised (and pleased) with the number of people in our network who took steps to get themselves checked out after Melanie’s diagnosis. Some did have issues, but fortunately none had ovarian cancer, and to date all have successfully dealt with their particular challenges.
My involvement with Ovarian Cancer was obviously driven by Melanie’s experience, but on realizing the increasing number of even very young women contracting the disease, and the extremely poor treatment options available to them, I determined to join the Ovarian Cancer Canada board last year as well. I have experienced an incredible legion of volunteers working to raise awareness and funds for this disease, and doing so in a very challenged charitable environment.
I discovered that the Ovarian Cancer Walk is by far the largest source of revenue for Ovarian Cancer Canada, and as a member of the Board, I have witnessed firsthand just how far those dollars are stretched by the organization’s employees and volunteers alike.
Melanie has remained cancer free to date. The surgery and chemotherapy have certainly taken a toll, and have triggered a multitude of side effects as well; and there is always the spectre of the disease rearing itself again. The lack of any real symptoms or detection tests leaves affected women in an almost constant state of stress and uncertainty. Ovarian cancer has one of the lowest 5 year survival rates of any cancer, and having been shocked once, they are constantly listening to their bodies for unusual signs or symptoms.
Despite this, we remain very positive on Melanie’s journey, and she has managed through the past 3 years with strength and grace. Our drive is to help raise funds for OCC to improve detection and treatment options so that others do not have to accept the ongoing pain and turmoil this disease brings. We have been incredibly fortunate to have had the support of so many of you over the past 2 walks, and are very thankful for it. But the battle is far from won, and there are still thousands of women in Canada dying annually from ovarian cancer. Please help us help OCC on its accelerating progress towards finding detection, treatment and cure for this horrible disease by supporting the walk on September 8, 2019. Even better, come out and join us!
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