SU2C Announces the Formation of a New Translational Research Ovarian Cancer “Dream Team”

Ovarian Cancer Community Joins Forces to Fight Deadliest Gynecologic Cancer. The New Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team Will Launch in 2015.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Team Up to Fund New Translational Research Ovarian Cancer “Dream Team.”

 

standuptocancerbanner

A groundbreaking collaboration is underway among three national ovarian cancer organizations: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). In partnership with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), this group will fund a new Ovarian Cancer Dream Team dedicated to piloting leading-edge, ovarian cancer research that will help patients and save lives.

This partnership was announced tonight by actor Pierce Brosnan on the Stand Up To Cancer’s biennial telecast, and in recognition of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The SU2C-OCRF-OCNA-NOCC Translational Research Dream Team grant will provide funding, over a three-year period, for research associated with this insidious disease.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all the gynecologic cancers. Almost 22,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014, and more than 14,000 women will lose their lives to the disease. By collaborating to fund an Ovarian Cancer Dream Team, OCRF, OCNA and NOCC, with SU2C, will further research in the field that can lead to new treatments and improved patient outcomes.

Later this month, SU2C, through its science partner the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), will issue a “Call for Ideas” from researchers and scientists worldwide. The selected Dream Team will be announced next spring, with research beginning in July 2015.

OCRF“Ovarian Cancer Research Fund has been the leading nonprofit funder of ovarian cancer research for years, and this new collaboration is a wonderful way to mark our 20th anniversary,” said Audra Moran, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. “We are excited that the Dream Team grant will continue our long tradition of supporting the most innovative research in the field, while providing scientists with a vital new source of financial support.”

OCNA1Calaneet Balas, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, said: “I am so thrilled that our three organizations are coming together to fight the disease we all care so much about. I believe the Ovarian Cancer Dream Team will be paradigm-shifting for our community, and I cannot wait to see what comes from this new initiative. We’re proud of the work the Alliance has done to secure federal research funding on behalf of all women, but the Dream Team gives us new opportunities for collaboration and innovation.”

NOCC - Logo“We are both proud and excited to join in supporting the Ovarian Cancer Dream Team, the first-ever collaboration of such efforts,” said David Barley, CEO of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. “We are looking forward to being instrumental in furthering ovarian cancer research. The impacts on families and communities continue to make ovarian cancer “More Than a Woman’s Disease®.” By working together we hope to make a difference in the lives of everyone we touch.”

About the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF), founded in 1994, is the oldest and largest charity in the United States funding ovarian cancer research, and ranks third in overall ovarian cancer research funding only after the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Its mission is to fund scientific research that leads to more effective identification, treatment, and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer, as well as related educational and support initiatives. OCRF has invested nearly $60 million in ovarian cancer research through 217 grants to scientists at 65 leading medical centers in the United States. OCRF continues to take the lead in funding the best and most promising ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their loved ones affected by this terrible disease in our quest to end it. For more information, please visit www.ocrf.org.

About the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a powerful voice for everyone touched by ovarian cancer. We connect survivors, women at risk, caregivers, and health providers with the information and resources they need. We ensure that ovarian cancer is a priority for lawmakers and agencies in Washington, DC, and throughout the country. We help our community raise their voices on behalf of every life that has been affected by this disease. For more information, please visit: www.ovariancancer.org

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Since its inception in 1995, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) has been committed to raising awareness, promoting education, and funding research in support of women, families, and communities touched by ovarian cancer. NOCC is well-established as an important national advocate for patients and families struggling with ovarian cancer. NOCC remains steadfast in its mission to save lives by fighting tirelessly to prevent and cure ovarian cancer, and to improve the quality of life for survivors. For more information, please visit: www.ovarian.org.

About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. For more information, please visit: www.standup2cancer.org

“Crowd Funding:” Paying Medical Bills With a Little Help From Your Friends (and Strangers Too!)

An interesting article appearing in USA Today on January 14, written by Cheryl Alkon, describes the use of “crowd funding” to assist individuals who may be experiencing tough financial times — or even bankruptcy — due to, among other things, medical costs, including those incurred to treat cancer.

What is “Crowd Funding?”

The term “crowd funding” describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, generally through the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. For example, crowd funding can be used to support disaster relief, citizen journalism, political campaigns, startup company funding, movie or software development, and scientific research.

Crowd funding is even taking on national significance through enacted federal legislation. In April 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which enables entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses to raise funds and gather investors through equity crowd funding.

An interesting article appearing in USA Today on January 14, written by Cheryl Alkon, describes the use of crowd funding to assist individuals who may be experiencing tough financial times — or even bankruptcy — due to, among other things, medical costs, including those incurred to treat cancer. The crowd funding websites listed by Alkon include: the Human Tribe Project (humantribeproject.com), GiveForward (giveforward.com), FundRazr (fundrazr.com), and GoFundMe (gofundme.com).

It is estimated that $2.8 billion was raised by all types of crowdfunding websites in 2012.

In an era when social media and networking reign supreme, most individuals have “friends,” and even “friends of friends.” At this point, you should be thinking about The Beatles song entitled, A Little Help From My Friends, which the group recorded on their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. Or perhaps, you prefer Joe Cocker’s cover version of the song, which he sang at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. But, I digress. So, let’s turn to a great example of crowding funding used to support medical costs.

The Genesis of the Human Tribe Project

Group Formal

The Human Tribe Project Leadership Team: (left-to-right) Ryan Foutz, Jaclyn Foutz, Matt Foutz, and Steve Bever.

The concept of crowd funding within the context of cancer treatment is best understood through the genesis of The Human Tribe Project.

In early 2008, Jaclyn Foutz learned that her longtime friend, Kindra McLennan, had been diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer. Not knowing how to help Kindra, who lived 1,500 miles away, Jaclyn did what anyone thirty-something would do: she turned to Google®.

Her search turned up various websites listing ways to help support and encourage a friend through cancer, and of those, some even suggested fundraising ideas. Realizing that they could not be there to hold Kindra’s hand through the chemotherapy and radiation, Jaclyn and her friends decided to raise money for Kindra and her husband to relieve the financial burden associated with her cancer treatment. Jaclyn identified websites suggesting fundraising options, but all seemed too local and small in scope to have the kind of impact that she and her friends wanted. At the time, Jaclyn’s husband, Ryan Foutz, his brother, Matt Foutz, and Ryan’s childhood friend, Steve Bever, owned a wholesale jewelry company. They donated turquoise beads, and Jaclyn and her friends sold turquoise necklaces in support of Kindra. They sold the necklaces in-person to friends, relatives and coworkers, and by e-mail to people in Kindra’s support network all across the country.

The project was a huge success; they sold 350 necklaces and raised $10,000. They were inspired by the breadth of Kindra’s network of friends and the willingness of complete strangers to buy the necklaces.

Initially, Kindra refused to take handouts from her friends and family; however, when she knew her friends and family were receiving a necklace in return for their monetary donation, her concerns were alleviated. And, when Kindra saw everyone from her best friend to her chemotherapy nurse wearing the necklaces, she felt an emotional support as great as the financial support that she had received.

After extensive research, Jaclyn and Ryan learned that there were no resources available to do what they did on a larger, commercial scale. They found companies selling products in an effort to raise money for non-profits, foundations, or research institutions, but none raised money directly for individuals during their time of need.

During their research process, they were astonished to learn about the financial burden that individuals suffering from an illness often face. For example, with respect to breast cancer alone, it is estimated that out-of-pocket expenditures and lost-income costs for women with insurance coverage average $1,455.00 per month. The majority of those out-of-pocket costs are related to co-payments, hospitalizations, and specialist visits.

In 2006, twenty-five percent of cancer patients reported that they had to use all or most of their savings to deal with cancer treatment costs. Approximately fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. are filed due to medical expenses. Also, researchers have found that there is a strong connection between emotional support and healthcare outcomes. Jaclyn and Ryan found these statistics astounding; there was a better way to aid individuals and enhance the benefits of strong support networks.

Through all of this, Jaclyn, Ryan, Matt, and Steve saw firsthand the power of the humanitarian spirit and how that spirit connects us all. It was from this experience that Human Tribe Project was born.

Ultimately, Kindra McLennan used some of the funds raised on the website to take a trip to Las Vegas for her 30th birthday, four months before she died. “If that’s what you feel you need to use the money for, that’s one of the things you can do when you know the people who are donating to you,” Jaclyn Foutz says. The Human Tribe Project website launched  in early 2009, six months after McLennan’s death.

Not only were Kindra’s friends and family able to raise approximately $10,000 on her behalf, but Kindra could see their love and support in every necklace that was worn. The Human Tribe Project website is dedicated to Kindra’s memory.

After helping establish the Human Tribe project, Matt Foutz never anticipated using the service for his own family. Two years ago, Mathew’s daughter Mia was diagnosed with a brain tumor, called a “medulloblastoma,” at the age of five. Mia received surgery, months of chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, the net result of which was permanent memory, mobility and endocrine issues. Through crowd funding, Matthew Foutz has already raised $11,520 for Mia.

Thoughts From Those In the Field

The USA Today article cites several individuals who are actively involved, directly or indirectly, in the field of crowd funding.

Catherine Chapman, a philanthropic consultant with Fullanthropy, a Louisville, Ky., consulting firm that advises non-profits on charitable best practices said:

Crowd funding is doing what has always been done, but taking the technology we have to make it viral. People give on these sites often because they have been asked to do so by a friend or a friend of a friend. The personal element is a lot more compelling than sending a check to a charity. Doing that is anonymous and you can’t relate, but if it’s your friend who has cancer, you want to help.”

Daryl Hatton, the founder and CEO of FundRazr, said:

“People know who they are donating to, but one of the big surprises is that people saw how many complete strangers were donating to them. The message has to really resonate with your friends, or else it won’t go anywhere. If you don’t get that social proof, then people don’t get donations. Our natural skepticism kicks in, and they hold back on hitting that button.”

According to the USA Today article, it appears that scams are rare. “Scammers tend to lack social-media followings, as they don’t want to identify themselves,” said Hatton. “Those with integrity have networks. To give you scale, approximately one in 5,000 medical FundRazrs get shut down.”

In the end, a cancer patient can use a crowdfunding site to tell his or her story about why money is needed, using blogs and updates to keep potential donors informed. Most websites collect donations and forward them directly to the person in need. The websites can take out a small portion of the donation for administrative and other costs, which can range from 5%-20% of funds raised. It is important to note that most crowd funding websites are not tax-exempt, non-profit organizations, and therefore, donations are not considered tax-deductible.

The USA Today article provides a few common sense tips to those who may be interested in crowd funding: (i) perform thorough due diligence on various websites beyond looking for a nice appearance (i.e., evaluate news stories, customer reviews, complaints,  etc.); (ii) research online tips for writing a compelling narrative about yourself and the need for money; (iii) give frequent updates (as most blog writers learn quickly); and (iv) know that fundraising is time-consuming, but realize that you are your own best advocate.

There is a saying that “to the world you may only be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” For those of you who may be thinking about helping a cancer survivor through crowd funding, keep in mind that “grand” opportunities to help others seldom arise, but small, yet critical, opportunities surround us everyday.

Sources:

“Crowdfunding” sites pay medical bills, raise hopes, written by Cheryl Alkon, USA Today, January 14, 2013.

“Company Background,” Media Packet, The Human Tribe Project, www.humantribeproject.com.

NOCC to Host Annual “Walk To Break The Silence On Ovarian Cancer” in the Greater Washington, D.C. Area

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Central Maryland Chapter announces its annual “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” to be held on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at Quiet Waters Park, located in Annapolis, Maryland.

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Central Maryland Chapter announces its 2nd Annual “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” to be held on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at Quiet Waters Park, located in Annapolis, Maryland. This event will be held “rain or shine.”

Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. at the Blue Heron Center located within the park. The 5K Run will begin at 9:30 a.m. The 3K Walk is scheduled to kick off at 9:35 a.m. All participants will receive a T-shirt. The race will be timed and various age awards will be presented.

To view a complete schedule of events, click here. To view the event brochure, click here. To view a video from last year’s event, click here.

September is Ovarian Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. “We walk and run to raise funds but just as importantly we walk and run to raise awareness”, said Nancy Long, Co-president of the Central Maryland Chapter. “There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer. That is why education and awareness are currently our best defense against this disease.”

Survivors are celebrated at the Run/Walk, so please visit the survivors’ tent for gift bags. In addition, you can commemorate the occasion with a special survivors’ photo. Bring a photo of yourself, a survivor you know, or a lost loved one for the survivor/memory banner.

Quiet Waters Park - South River Overlook, Annapolis, Maryland

Quiet Waters Park - Bridge & Fountain, Annapolis, Maryland

More than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 15,000 women die from the disease annually. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in late stages when the prognosis is poor.  However, if diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent.

There is currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer, and Pap tests do not detect the disease.  That is why it is imperative that the early signs and symptoms of the disease are recognized, not only by women, but also by their families and the medical community.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer may include fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during intercourse, constipation, and menstrual changes. Women who experience these symptoms for longer than two weeks, especially if these symptoms are new to them, are encouraged to visit their health care provider.

Many women attending this NOCC event are anxious and willing to tell their stories of, or related to, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, the hardships of treatment, the potential for inherited genetic mutations, and the fears and joys of being a survivor.

To register for the NOCC Central Maryland Chapter’s “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer,” please call 443-433-2597 or visit www.nocc.kintera.org/mdcentral.

Nancy Long and Paula Kozik are the Co-presidents of the NOCC Central Maryland Chapter. Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ will be featuring the inspirational stories of these two amazing women as part of its Vox Populi (“voice of the people”) feature during National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. The Coalition carries out its mission through a toll-free Help Line, local NOCC Chapters, a comprehensive website, peer support, written publications, and awareness/educational programs. The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. If you would like more information about the “Break the Silence” campaign, or wish to contact one of the local NOCC Chapters, visit www.ovarian.org or call 1-888-OVARIAN (1-888-682-7426).


Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist Veronica Cristovao Is Raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness “Down Under”

Mrs. Australian Quest Finalist Veronica Cristovao is raising ovarian cancer awareness “Down Under,” and she hopes to use the pageant as an international platform to further her ovarian cancer advocacy.

Did you know that February is national Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in Australia?

Veronica Cristovao is a finalist in the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant which supports Ovarian Cancer Australia. Veronica hopes to use the pageant as an international platform for ovarian cancer awareness.

According to the Australian National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, approximately 1,200 Australian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010.  On average, three Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day, while two Australian women die from the disease every day or one woman every twelve hours.  Ovarian cancer accounts for 55 percent of all Australian gynecological cancer deaths. By way of comparison, 88 out of every 100 Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer will be alive five years after diagnosis, whereas only 40 out of every 100 Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will be alive during that same time period.

These statistics are alarming, and until effective prevention and early detection methods can be identified, awareness of the ovarian cancer early warning signs are critical. Promotion of ovarian cancer awareness and early detection underlie the charitable mission of the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant. The pageant’s mission is artfully expressed through its “beautiful awareness” motto.

Although February has come to an end, we had the pleasure of getting to know Veronica Cristovao, a Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist, earlier this month.  Because the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant supports ovarian cancer awareness through Ovarian Cancer Australia, we thought it was important to highlight Veronica’s ovarian cancer advocacy and participation in the pageant.  After reading Veronica’s story, you will discover what we already know; win, lose or draw in the final pageant competition, Veronica is already a winner given her amazing talents as an entrepreneur, ovarian cancer advocate, wife, and mother of two young children.

We would like to extend our fullest appreciation to Veronica and her family for allowing us to tell her ovarian cancer advocacy story.

“Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude, and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.”

— Jacqueline Bisset, English Actress & Golden Globe and Emmy Award Nominee

Mrs. Australia Quest Pageant

The Mrs. Australia Quest pageant selected Ovarian Cancer Australia as its designated 2011 charity. Ovarian Cancer Australia was founded by individuals directly affected by ovarian cancer, who wanted to raise awareness of the disease and support those who have been affected by it. This founder group includes:

  • Nicole Livingstone, a retired Australian swimmer and Olympic medal winner, television sports commentator and radio presenter, and recipient of the Order of Australia Metal, and her sister Karen, who lost their mother and aunt to the disease;
  • Simon Lee, whose wife Sheila was the driving force behind the Australian ovarian cancer awareness movement prior to her death in 2001;
  • Actress and comedian Lynda Gibson, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000 and subsequently lost her battle to the disease in 2004; and
  • Journalist Tracey Curro, whose mother died from ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer Australia is the country’s only national not-for-profit organization which (i) supports women with ovarian cancer, their families, friends and caretakers with compassionate support programs and practical resources; (ii) educates communities and individuals about the disease to increase their awareness of symptoms and the latest treatment, research and clinical trials from across Australia; and (iii) advocates to improve outcomes, treatment and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.  In 2011, Ovarian Cancer Australia will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.

In support of Ovarian Cancer Australia, the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant is promoting awareness of the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer in an attempt to educate the women of Australia and beyond. The overarching goal is to save as many women’s lives as possible.

All Mrs. Australia Quest pageant entrants receive the opportunity to promote themselves, voice their opinions, get involved, network, fulfill personal goals, and most of all to have fun. Moreover, the experience at the Mrs. Australia Quest National Final, which will be held in Sydney during June 2011, promises to be very glamorous and entertaining for all of the women who participate. All participants will be judged based upon the following criteria:  personal interview & Q&A submission, photographic session, Evening Attire Competition, Swimwear Competition, Active Wear Competition, promotion of ovarian cancer awareness, and internet popularity voting.  Undoubtedly, the Mrs. Australia Quest National Final title winner will experience a life changing event that will open new doors of opportunity and create memorable moments.

The Mrs. Australia Quest national winner will go on to compete in the Mrs. International® pageant which will be held in Chicago, Illinois during July 2011. In this pageant, each contestant has the opportunity to select a platform of her choice, which she will spend the next year promoting. Husbands also play a direct role in this event.  Each husband will escort his wife in the Evening Gown competition, and the Mrs. International® pageant winner’s husband will crown his wife as the new titleholder.

Veronica Cristovao – Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist

The Mrs. Australia Quest pageant not only raises money for ovarian cancer, it also raises the profile of the disease by creating ambassadors of young wives in Australia. The pageant’s charitable ovarian cancer awareness mission is what motivated Veronica Cristovao to take part in the 2011 competition.

The Cristovao family celebrates Thomas' 3rd birthday. (Above: Duarte & Veronica Cristovao with their two children; Thomas, a 3-year old boy, and Samantha, an 18-month old girl)

Veronica is 33 years old and is married to her husband Duarte, who is property developer.  The couple has two children; Thomas, a 3-year old boy, and Samantha, an 18-month old girl.

After experiencing the effects of cancer so close to home, Veronica knows all too well the importance of awareness. Veronica’s family relatives have been affected by cancer of the stomach and the breast, as well as lymphoma.

Veronica completed her formal education with a major in Business/Marketing and Computer Science, although she started her work career in the areas of customer service, management and training.  Despite that fact, her life-long passion has always been real estate. In fact, before having children, Veronica worked as a real estate agent.  She also engaged in part-time modeling and commercials, and met many interesting people along the way.

While pregnant with her first child (Thomas), Veronica studied interior design and decoration. Given her husband’s real estate development expertise, Veronica believed that a background in interior design and decoration would allow her to work side-by-side with Duarte, thereby allowing the couple to share a common passion. Veronica has already completed four major interior design/decoration projects, while raising her young children at the same time.  And, her business and marketing background has proved quite helpful in recruiting new clients for her rapidly growing business, which include her brother who happens to be an architect.

Veronica has always been engaged in charitable activities throughout her life, including blood donation and volunteer activities in support of local charitable organizations and children in need.  While working and raising a family, Veronica has also been active in raising ovarian cancer awareness. She dedicates a great deal of time to distributing ovarian cancer awareness posters and informational pamphlets within her local community.  By all accounts, Veronica’s ovarian cancer awareness campaign has been extremely well received by her community.

This past month, Veronica utilized an Ovarian Cancer Australia awareness campaign called, “Afternoon Teal™.” Through this campaign, Ovarian Cancer Australia invites all Australians to support women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families by hosting an Afternoon Teal™ during the month of February.  This gathering allows a host, such as Veronica, to invite workmates, friends, and family members to the event with the goal of (i) raising funds to support programs for women touched by ovarian cancer and their families; and (ii) providing vital information regarding the early warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Veronica hosted several successful Afternoon Teal™ events, thereby raising much needed monies for ovarian cancer awareness.

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

— Sophia Loren, Italian Film Actress & 1962 “Best Actress” Academy Award (Oscar) Winner

During a recent interview with a local Australian news reporter, Veronica said:  “Cancer is a horrible disease. I feel so fortunate that I am happy and healthy, I want to take this opportunity to give something back.” Veronica believes that learning to “give back” is a critical life lesson for her children, which is best taught by example. “I want my children to understand how important it is to help people in need. I want them to know just how lucky we are.”

In the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant final to be held in June, Veronica will compete with seven other wives for the opportunity to represent Australia at an international level. Veronica believes that winning the national title in June will give her the requisite international platform to raise awareness about the devastating effects of ovarian cancer. Veronica would also like to note that ovarian cancer is preventable through various means, but as with any cancer, recognizing the early warning signs and symptoms is vital. Because there is no reliable blood test to detect early stage ovarian cancer, Veronica looks forward to the day when such a test is readily available at all Australian medical centers.

As noted above, Veronica has already taken it upon herself to campaign hard for ovarian cancer awareness. That hard work has already resulted in her receipt of approximately 7,500 online votes, which represent 10 percent of the final judging score to determine the next Mrs. Australia Quest.  We should note that 50% of monies raised through online voting support Ovarian Cancer Australia.

If you would like to vote for Veronica online, please visit http://www.mrsaustraliaquest.com.au/ and click on the “View Finalists” tab, which is located on the left margin of the Mrs. Australia Quest homepage. All individual donors who vote $100 (AUD) or more will be acknowledged on the Mrs. Australia Quest website. Three business voting packages are also available, which provide an even higher level of donor acknowledgment.

We would like to thank the Cristovao family again for helping us in the preparation of this story, and we wish Veronica all the best with respect to the Mrs. Australia Quest pageant final competition in June 2011. In our humble opinion, Veronica is already a winner and an inspirational ovarian cancer advocate.

Sources:

_________________________________________

*“Vox Populi,” a Latin phrase that means “voice of the people,” is a term often used in broadcast journalism to describe an interview of the “man (or woman) on the street.”

In the spirit of Vox Populi, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ searches online for original writings and visual media created by ovarian cancer survivors, survivors’ family members, cancer advocates, journalists, and health care professionals, which address one or more aspects of ovarian cancer within the context of daily life. The written and visual media features that we discover run the gamut; sometimes poignant, sometimes educational, sometimes touching, sometimes comedic, but always honest. The Vox Populi feature may take the form of an essay, editorial, poem, letter, story, song or video picture montage.

It is our hope that the Vox Populi feature will allow our readers to obtain, in some small way, a better understanding of how ovarian cancer impacts the life of a woman diagnosed with the disease and her family. We invite all readers to submit, or bring to our attention, original writings and visual media suitable for publication as Vox Populi features.

Call To Action! Protect & Expand U.S. Federal Ovarian Cancer Research Funding

Do you live in AL, CA, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MI, MO, NH, ND, PA, TX, UT, VT, WA or WI? If so, one of your Senators sits on the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee that determines how much funding is given to the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Ask your Senator to increase funding for this critical ovarian cancer research program. Click on the hyperlink below to obtain step-by-step instructions provided by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. It’s so important, and it’s so easy!

Woody Allen once said that 80% of success in life is just showing up. When it comes to U.S. federal funding of ovarian cancer research on Capitol Hill, decision are definitely made by those who show up.

Do you live in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin?

If so, you live in a state represented by a Senator who sits on the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee, the subcommittee that controls spending levels for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program (DoD OCRP). This critical program is the only dedicated federal budget line item that funds ovarian cancer research. Last year, funding for the program was cut. We need your Senator to support this program.

Please call your Senator’s office and request that he or she talk to the Chairman or Vice-Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to express their support of a minimum of $30 million for the DoD OCRP in 2011.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance makes taking this action simple! CLICK HERE , enter your zip code, and you will receive step-by-step instructions.

If your Senator gets enough calls, he or she will believe that this is an important issue and will be more inclined to have this conversation with the Chairman or Vice Chairman. Both the Chairman and the Vice-Chair play a key role in determining how much money the DoD OCRP receives in order to carry out ovarian cancer research, so it is important that they hear from their Senate colleagues.

As seen in the chart below, ovarian cancer research funded by the U.S. federal government makes up the majority of all ovarian cancer research conducted in the U.S. We need to protect and expand this funding so we can get an early detection test and more effective treatments.

Source: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

The more calls we make, the bigger impact we will make. Get your friends and family in your state involved in the mission to get increased U.S. federal funding for ovarian cancer research by asking them to call too!

Please place your calls by September 10th!

Source:  Call to action! Protect and expand ovarian cancer research funding! Action Alert, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

NOCC To Host 6th Annual “Walk To Break The Silence On Ovarian Cancer” In Washington, D.C. Area

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Central Maryland Chapter announces its 6th Annual “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” to be held on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at Quiet Waters Park, located in Annapolis, Maryland.

Pureology is the Premier Sponsor of the NOCC 6th Annual "Walk To Break The Silence On Ovarian Cancer" Event

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Central Maryland Chapter announces its 6th Annual “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” to be held on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at Quiet Waters Park, located in Annapolis, Maryland.

Registration will open at 8:00 am, and the 5K Run will begin at 9:00 am. The 3K Walk is scheduled to kick off at 9:05 am. To view a complete schedule of events, click here. To view the event brochure, click here.

September is Ovarian Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. “We walk and run to raise funds but just as importantly, we walk and run to raise awareness,” said Nancy Long, NOCC Central Maryland Chapter’s Co-President. “There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer. That is why education and awareness are currently our best defense against this disease.”

Special events will include a survivor’s area with prizes and gifts available for ovarian cancer survivors. Refreshments will be provided, as well as face painting for the kids, big and small, and a table to make a flag in honor of or in memory of a loved one.

All participants will receive a T-shirt and a Pureology gift pack containing Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Pureology Hydrate Conditioner. Pureology is the premier sponsor of the NOCC’s “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer.”

Quiet Waters Park - South River Overlook, Annapolis, Maryland

Quiet Waters Park - Bridge & Fountain, Annapolis, Maryland

More than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 15,000 women die from the disease annually. Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in their later stages when the prognosis is poor.  However, if diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. There is currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer, and Pap tests do not detect the disease.  That is why it is imperative that the early signs and symptoms of the disease are recognized, not only by women, but also by their families and the medical community.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer may include fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during intercourse, constipation, and menstrual changes. Women who experience these symptoms for longer than two weeks, especially if these symptoms are new to them, are encouraged to visit their health care provider.

Many women attending this event are anxious and willing to tell their stories of, or related to, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, the hardships of treatment, the potential for inherited genetic mutations, and the fears and joys of being a survivor.

To register for the NOCC Central Maryland Chapter’s “Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer,” please call 443-433-2597 or visit www.nocc.kintera.org/mdcentral

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. The Coalition carries out its mission through a toll-free Help Line, local NOCC Chapters, a comprehensive website, peer support, written publications, and awareness/educational programs. The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. If you would like more information on the “Break the Silence” campaign, or wish to contact one of the local NOCC Chapters, visit www.ovarian.org or call 1-888-OVARIAN (1-888-682-7426).

Source: NOCC Central MD Announces the 6th Annual Walk/Run To Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Central Maryland Chapter, Press Release, July 2, 2010.

Libby’s H*O*P*E* to Present At NOCC 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo (REJUVENATE Finding Balance)

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. … On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.

On March 20, 2010, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (Maryland Chapter) will hold its 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENATE Finding Balance (NOCC Rejuvenate), at the Sheraton Annapolis Hotel. NOCC Rejuvenate is sponsored by the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Additional funding was also provided through a grant from the Maryland Attorney General Settlement.

NOCC Rejuvenate is designed to appeal to all women who want to rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit. The event is divided into three sessions. Each session offers seven to eight different seminars for attendees. The seminars address a variety of topics including make-up and skin care, going green, photography, plastic surgery, decorating, fashion, finance, retirement solutions, nutrition, fitness, and holistic approaches to wellness. A list of all event seminars is provided below.

Informative seminars about ovarian and breast cancer are offered as part of each session. Knowing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, the screening guidelines for breast cancer, and the basics about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, could save your life or the life of someone you love.  On behalf of Libby’s H*O*P*E*™, I will conduct a seminar as part of Session II entitled, A Patient Advocate’s Perspective on the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Related On-line Resources.  My presentation will address the genesis of the Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ website; highlight critical ovarian cancer awareness information; summarize available online ovarian cancer and cancer-related resources; describe stories of hope involving ovarian cancer survivors and their families; and explain how each individual can make a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer.

NOCC Rejuvenate also targets cancer survivors. The devastating effects of these diseases can rob women of hope and peace. This event will offer an opportunity for survivors to reinvent their self-image and gain more knowledge, offering a sense of hope and a chance to connect with other survivors.

An exhibitor’s area will be offered at the event. This area will include informational tables as well as vendor tables that have been specifically chosen to meet the overarching vision of the event. At the completion of the three event sessions, a nutritious lunch will be served while information is provided on the signs and symptoms of ovarian and breast cancer.

NOCC 6th Annual Women's Health Expo

What:  National Ovarian Cancer Coalition 6th Annual Women’s Health Expo entitled, REJUVENTE Finding Balance (click here to view event brochure, including mail-in registration)

When: Saturday, March 20, 2010 (8:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.)

Where: Sheraton Annapolis Hotel, 173 Jennifer Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 (driving instructions).

Register: To register online click here.

Contact: Nancy Long (NOCC Maryland Chapter Co-President) at 443-433-2597, or email (click here).

Keynote Speaker:  Yarrow, The Energy Whisperer

Session I Presentations (9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.)

  • Treating Cancer By Alternative Medicine
  • The Survivors’ Connection
  • The Skinny on Fat – Cancer Prevention Naturally
  • Interior Design in Difficult Times – Cost Saving Design Solutions
  • Relaxation & Healing
  • Identifying & Solving the Challenges of Baby Boomer Women
  • Cancer and The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Belly Dancing

Session II Presentations (10:45-11:45)

  • Dr. Zandra Cheng, Breast Surgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Hereditary Syndromes That Include Ovarian and Breast Cancers
  • Facial & Body Rejuvenation
  • A Patient Advocate’s Perspective On the Importance of Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Related On-line Resources (Paul Cacciatore, Founder, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™)
  • Designing Green Interiors
  • Creating Better Images with the Camera You Own
  • Some Expert Fashion Tips
  • Yoga:  A Balanced Life
  • Relaxation & Healing

Session III Presentations (12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.)

  • New Advances in Ovarian Cancer (William McGuire, M.D., Medical Director of The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square Hospital)
  • What is My Daughter’s Chance of Getting My Cancer?
  • Planning for your Retirement Lifestyle:  The New Retirement
  • Super Health Begins with Super-food Nutrition
  • Around the World to Your Backyard
  • Balancing Your Life Wheel
  • Get Fit & Healthy with the Simple Rules of the Big 3
  • Relaxation & Healing

About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The mission of the NOCC is to raise awareness and increase education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers. NOCC programs are possible only with the help of its volunteers; committed men and women dedicated to the mission of the NOCC in communities across the country.  For more information go to http://www.ovarian.org/.

About the National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Connection

The mission of the NBOCC is to raise awareness and educate the general public about the link between breast and ovarian cancer. The organization is dedicated to teaching all women about their inherent risks and how to improve their chances of survival through early detection and research developments.  For more information go to http://www.nbocc.org/.