Gloria Johns Was Told “Ovarian Cancer Patients Don’t Live Long Enough … To Have Support Groups;” She Proved Otherwise

Every so often, you come across a story of hope, courage, and dogged perseverance that renews the spirit and lifts the soul.  Gloria Johns’ story is a classic example.  Gloria Johns is a 61 year old stage IV ovarian cancer survivor, who has battled the disease for nine years through five cancer recurrences.  When Gloria inquired about enrolling in an ovarian cancer support group after her initial diagnosis, she was informed by a local health care professional that “[o]varian cancer patients don’t live long enough … to have support groups.”  Gloria Johns proved otherwise by establishing the first ovarian cancer support group in Alachua County, Florida (which encompasses the city of Gainsville). … Recently, Gloria’s inspirational story was featured in an online article (reprinted in full below) written by Jessica Chapman for The High Springs Herald.

Every so often, you come across a story of hope, courage, and dogged perseverance that renews the spirit and lifts the soul.  Gloria Johns’ story is a classic example.  Gloria Johns is a 61 year old stage IV ovarian cancer survivor, who has battled the disease for nine years through five cancer recurrences.  When Gloria inquired about enrolling in an ovarian cancer support group after her initial diagnosis, she was informed by a local health care professional that “[o]varian cancer patients don’t live long enough … to have support groups.”  Gloria Johns proved otherwise by establishing the first ovarian cancer support group in Alachua County, Florida (which encompasses the city of Gainsville).  Always encouraging, Gloria tells the women in her support group to “never take a day for granted,” while reminding them to ignore statistics because “women with ovarian cancer are not numbers.”

Recently, Gloria’s inspirational story was featured in an online article (reprinted in full below) written by Jessica Chapman for the The High Springs Herald. At the end of the story, Gloria states:  “My goal in life now is to help others on this journey and give them hope to overcome. … I believe with all my heart that God has ordained this for my life to make me the person he wants me to be.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American poet and essayist, wrote: “… [T]o leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” By any measure, Gloria Johns has succeeded.  Gloria’s ongoing support group work represents not only a job well done, but a life well spent.

We want to extend special thanks to The High Springs Herald, Jessica Chapman (author), and Edward Izquierdo (photographer) for allowing us to reprint Gloria Johns’ inspirational story.  We also want to thank Gloria Johns for her living example of courage, perseverance, and most importantly, hope.

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Johns’ beats cancer five times, forms support group that no one said could exist

By Jessica Chapman For The High Springs Herald, High Springs, Florida.

ALACHUA — In 2002, at 2 p.m., Gloria Johns’ eyes rolled back in her head, and she was gone. Then she was floating above her body, watching as doctors worked on her.

Her platelet count had just dropped to four. A patient’s platelet count is at a dangerous level when it is below 10.

When she woke up at 10 p.m., the nurse told her someone had sat with her all day. The woman with long, blond hair never said anything. The nurse thought it was Johns’ daughter, but it wasn’t.

She walked into the elevator just as Johns woke up.

Johns believes an angel sat with her until she woke up.

Photo By Edward Izquierdo. When Gloria Johns first attempted to form a support group for ovarian cancer patients, she was told they don't live long enough to join a support group. She proved otherwise and has the photos (above) to show it.

Photo By Edward Izquierdo. When Gloria Johns first attempted to form a support group for ovarian cancer patients, she was told they don't live long enough to join a support group. She proved otherwise and has the photos (above) to show it.

In 2000, Johns, 61, was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. For nine years, she fought through five recurrences of cancer.

And beat them all.

Throughout all the support from friends and family over the years, one thing Johns didn’t have when she first began treatment was a support group that could relate to what she was going through.

“I went to the patient liaison at North Florida (Regional Medical Center) to get one (a support group when she was first diagnosed), and she [the patient liaison] said, ‘Ovarian cancer patients don’t live long enough for us to have support groups,’” Johns recalled as she sat at the dining table in her kitchen. “That was discouraging.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer-related death among women. That is more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.

After her third recurrence with cancer, which is when her heart stopped, she decided to start her own support group, the first ovarian cancer support group in Alachua County [Florida].

Johns, who has lived in the Alachua area for 13 years, mentioned the support group to her doctor, who thought it was a wonderful idea, and she started the group, Johns elaborated.

Before support groups for ovarian cancer and the success in cancer research began, tips like the ones these women share were few and far between, Johns said.

Ovarian cancer was known as the “silent killer” because by the time it was detected, it usually had spread to other areas of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Only about 20 percent of ovarian cancers are found before tumor growth has spread beyond the ovaries,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

“It’s overwhelming what cancer is doing to people,” Johns added. “It changes you.”

Along with encouraging the women in her support group to “never take a day for granted,” she reminds them to not look at statistics. Women with ovarian cancer are not numbers, she said.

Statistics include a wide range of people. The women in statistics include the young, old, those with different stages of cancer and those with multiple recurrences, Johns said.

For example, those statistics might not be true for a young woman in stage two of cancer, she elaborated.

Johns does believe that encouraging and supporting people can help prevent future ovarian cancer-related deaths. Johns frequently e-mails and calls other ovarian cancer patients throughout the country in need of support.

Many of the people who contact her have heard of her through oncology offices throughout Gainesville [Florida].

But while much of her time is spent encouraging other cancer patients, she makes sure to take care of herself, too. She has a rule: after one of the women has gone to hospice or home to family, she will not go see them, but she will call.

“I think that would be extremely detrimental,” she said. “I’ve never done that. I’ve been real careful about getting extremely close to people.”

Six women in the group have died. She has called and sent cards to them all, but she prefers not to talk about them.

Despite the hardships and losses, Johns has learned an important lesson in her journey with cancer: everything has a purpose, she said.

She believes that God’s purpose for her was to use her experiences with cancer to help and encourage the women facing the same problems.

Through five recurrences with cancer, five different treatments, five times losing her hair, five times facing the fear of dying, Johns could have used the support from the group she started.

“The first recurrence is worse than the first time in my opinion,” Johns said. “The first recurrence is tough because you were praying you’d beat this thing.”

The first treatment she received was nine months of carboplatin and taxol chemotherapy. After she went through these chemotherapy treatments, she was in remission for 10 months. Then the cancer came back, and she had three more chemotherapy treatments during her first recurrence.

“It never held a whole year,” Johns said. “It seemed to come back every August.

When the cancer came back two years later, she had a stem cell transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

“You’re so weak (after the transplant) you can’t work,” she said. “You can’t be around animals. You can’t be around dirt because your immune system is so shattered there’s just nothing there.”

However, a weak immune system didn’t slow her down. When Johns returned home, she kept up with her regular activities, including teaching the college and career Sunday school class and leading the church choir at Antioch Baptist Church in LaCrosse.

The treatment was supposed to keep cancer from coming back for four years, but despite her hard work at returning to a normal life, the cancer came back two years after the treatment.

She, again, went through six months of chemotherapy, but the cancer came back in less than a year. This is when she went into anaphylactic shock. The anaphylactic shock was a result of too much chemotherapy over the past years.

After recovering, she decided that as long as she was in remission from the one and a half chemotherapy treatments she received, she would give her body a rest and stop treatment.

Almost three years passed before the cancer came back for the last recurrence in 2007, but this time she was prepared, Johns said.

Johns and her doctors knew that if the cancer came back, she would go through CyberKnife radiation, a new treatment previously used on brain tumors. The doctors were unable to use radiation on ovarian cancer patients until the CyberKnife radiation treatments began.

Her energy level went up after the radiation, and as a result, she felt “like myself again,” she said.

Ever since that treatment, she has been in remission. Thanksgiving 2008 marked two years in remission.

“I’ve been trying to get there for eight and a half years,” she said.

Now, Johns said she makes sure to appreciate her time, and she knows that if she loses the fight with cancer, as a result of her support group, something will be left behind “that was worth doing.”

“My goal in life now is to help others on this journey and give them hope to overcome,” Johns said. “I believe with all my heart that God has ordained this for my life to make me the person he wants me to be.”

SourceJohns’ beats cancer five times, forms support group that no one said could exist, by Jessica Chapman, News section, The High Springs Herald, published online May 29, 2009.  The article and accompanying photograph were republished by Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ with the permission of the The High Springs Herald, Jessica Chapman (the author) and Edward Izquierdo (the photographer).

Meet Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire

To call Laurey Masterton an “overachiever” is akin to calling Lance Armstrong a “decent” bike rider. …On March 6, 2009, Laurey dipped her rear bicycle tire into the Pacific Ocean (San Diego, CA), and started a 58-day, 3100-mile trek that will culminate in the dipping of her front bicycle tire into the Atlantic Ocean (St. Augustine, FL) on or about April 30th. … The purpose of her bike trip is to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. …

To call Laurey Masterton an “overachiever” is akin to calling Lance Armstrong a “decent” bike rider.   A few of Laurey’s amazing talents and achievements (past & present) include the following:

Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor, Bikes Across America to Raise Awareness About the Early Warning Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer (Photo Source: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance)

Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor, Bikes Across America to Raise Awareness About the Early Warning Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer (Photo Source: Ovarian Cancer National Alliance)

  • Graduate from the University of New Hampshire;
  • Outward Bound Instructor who co-created and instructed the first Outward Bound courses for cancer survivors at The North Carolina Outward Bound School;
  • Intern for Nora Pouillion, the creator of the first 100 percent certified organic restaurant in the U.S.;
  • Founder of Laurey’s Catering & Gourmet to Go, a very successful catering business and shop for “gourmet comfort food;”
  • Author of Elsie’s Biscuits:Simple Stories of Me, My Mother, and Food, a “culinary memoir-with recipesin which she tells about growing up in the golden light of a small inn, losing her parents as a child, and then finding her way back to them through food and stories;
  • In 1999, Laurey was awarded the Small Business Leader of the Year for both Asheville, North Carolina and the state of North Carolina;
  • In 2001, Laurey was the recipient of  The Athena Award, which promotes women’s leadership and honors outstanding leaders;
  • Board Chair of  the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce;
  • Board Member of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project;
  • Participant in local farm-to-table initiatives, with a particular interest in helping children experience gardening, cooking and the eating of “real food;”
  • Glassblowing student, who collects sea urchins, antique chafing dishes, and old Clementine boxes;
  • Italian speaking leader of guided culinary tours to the Tuscany region of Italy and the Provence region of France;
  • Active long-distance bike rider and beekeeper;
  • Resident of Asheville, North Carolina, where she lives with her partner Chris and her dog Tye;
  • Follower of the motto “don’t postpone joy;” and
  • 20-year survivor of ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest cancers affecting women today.

Yup, I “buried the lead” as they say in journalism.  Laurey is a 20-year ovarian cancer survivor who fully recognizes and appreciates her good fortune.  As you probably guessed by now, the appreciation of good fortune is simply not enough for Laurey.   On March 6, 2009, Laurey dipped her rear bicycle tire into the Pacific Ocean (San Diego, CA), and started a 58-day, 3100-mile trek that will culminate in the dipping of her front bicycle tire into the Atlantic Ocean (St. Augustine, FL) on or about April 30th. The purpose of her bike trip is to raise awareness about the warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and the dire need for early detection.  In an interview with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), Laurey said, “Being a 20-year ovarian cancer survivor is a special victory because sadly most of its victims don’t reach this milestone. I’m one of the lucky ones because I was able to feel symptoms early on and was diagnosed in Stage I. I was in touch with my body, I knew something was wrong, I was persistent with the doctors and it saved my life. Early detection and awareness of ovarian cancer is the message that I want my bike ride to convey.”

Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

As in Laurey’s case, women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms. Women who have these symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Prompt medical evaluation can lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease which is associated with an improved prognosis.  Additional symptoms can include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities.

The ovarian cancer facts and figures published by the American Cancer Society in 2008 note the following:

  • Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women, although the risk of disease increases with age and peaks in the late 70s. Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced.  However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 can be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.
  • If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.
  • Ovarian cancer incidence rates are highest in Western industrialized countries.
  • Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers among women and ranks #2 among gynecologic cancers.
  • An estimated 21,650 new ovarian cancer cases were diagnosed in the U.S.
  • An estimated 15,520 ovarian cancer deaths occurred.
  • Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

Prior to starting her trip, Laurey Masterton raised a portion of her $50,000 goal amount that will be donated to (i) OCNA, in support of its work on research, education, and awareness essential to the fight against ovarian cancer, and (ii) the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), an organization that promotes and enhances the education, advancement and connection of women in the culinary industry. In turn, the OCNA and WCR are partnering with Laurey in her efforts to raise ovarian cancer awareness.  “Laurey is an inspiration to women everywhere to never give up and always to have hope no matter how big the obstacle,” says Karen Orloff Kaplan, CEO of OCNA. “We are delighted to support Laurey throughout her bike ride and help her reach her goals in bringing more attention to ovarian cancer.”

Laurey is journaling online in “real time” about various aspects of her ongoing bike trip at www.laureybikes.blogspot.com. On Saturday, March 14th, Laurey stopped at Apache Junction, Arizona to chat with several ovarian cancer survivors. In one of Laurey’s most touching journal entries to date, entitled A morning to chat, Laurey writes:

mastertonphoenixstop1

(Photo Source: Laurey Bikes at http://www.laureybikes.blogspot.com)

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These sweet lovelies came to see me off this morning. FIRST thing! Ovarian cancer survivors (the woman on my left is a 38 year survivor!) and supporters, they arrived, armed with teal feather boas and a video camera and good questions. The sun rose over those fragrant eucalyptus trees and we talked about riding and surviving and persisting in the face of chemotherapy or miles and miles of uphill, bumpy roads.

Before I left Asheville I had a Reiki session with a friend and told her that I was not sure I was doing the right thing by leaving my business and my home and my friends and my life to go gallivanting around on my red Trek. She said I would find signs to tell me I WAS doing the right thing. She said, “Your spirit guides will tell you. They especially like to show themselves in the form of pennies and feathers.”

Ha!

Here they are.

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I encourage everyone to check out Laurey’s Google Map below, which sets forth her anticipated travel route and stops.  As of this writing, Laurey was leaving Lordsburg, New Mexico, so please visit Laurey’s blog to learn how you can support her during her cross-country bike ride.

If I were a betting man, I would say that there is no doubt that Laurey will complete her cross country trek, while educating thousands of women about the warning signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, and the need for early detection. Throughout her entire life, Laurey did not allow difficult life circumstances and past achievements to define her. Nothing has changed. She always moves forward, living by the motto “don’t postpone joy.”  Laurey not only represents a strong role model for ovarian cancer survivors, she is an inspiring and passionate role model for anyone with a heartbeat.

Babe Ruth, the legendary baseball player, once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who refuses to give up.”  A word to the wise:  Never bet against Laurey because the word “quit” is not in her vocabulary!

In the video below, TV Personality and Chef Sara Moulton conducts an intimate interview with Laurey Masterton regarding her cross country bike ride to raise awareness about the early warnings signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

TV Personality & Chef Sara Moulton Interviews Laurey Masterton

About the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is the nation’s vision and voice for ovarian cancer issues. The OCNA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, leads the national initiative to conquer ovarian cancer by uniting individuals and local, state and national organizations in a consolidated movement to advance ovarian cancer research, improve health care practice and find an effective screening test and a cure for the disease. To learn more about the OCNA, visit its website at www.ovariancancer.org.

About the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs

The mission of  Women Chefs & Restaurateurs is to promote and enhance the education, advancement and connection of women in the culinary industry. Formed in 1993 by eight of the nation’s top women chefs and restaurateurs, WCR has grown to a membership of over 2,000 members, offering a variety of networking, professional and support services. To learn about WCR, visit its website at www.womenchefs.org.
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Primary Source20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor Celebrates Golden Birthday – Chef Laurey Masterton Bikes 3,098 Miles Across US to Raise Awareness About Ovarian Cancer, Press Release, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, March 4, 2009.  Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ would like to extend a special thank you to Laurey Masterton and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance for allowing us to feature Laurey’s story along with her photographs and google map.

“Scars Are Just Tattoos With Better Stories”

This week H*O*P*E*™ highlights and honors Katie Fetzer. Katie is a 25-year old kindergartner teacher and an inspirational ovarian cancer survivor. A nagging pain that never went away and only seemed to grow in intensity prompted Fetzer to make a visit to her doctor in 2006. An ultrasound revealed a large mass on her left ovary, so she followed up with her gynecologist. Her gynecologist referred the young woman, who hadn’t even had the chance to begin her career as a teacher yet, to a gynecologic oncologist.

“He looked me right in the eye and said, ‘I will take care of this for you,'” Fetzer said of her oncologist. “And then,” she added, “I could breathe again.” Subsequent to the initial diagnosis, Fetzer had three surgeries-one to remove her left ovary as well as lymph nodes in her abdominal area; another to remove lymph nodes in her neck; and the last, which was in January 2007, to remove her remaining ovary. The nodes were removed because some of the cancerous cells invaded her lymphatic system. Fetzer also undergoes CT scans every six months as follow-up. She has not received radiation or chemotherapy because these types of treatments work best on fast-growing cells, and her cancer cells are slow-growing.

Katie’s gynecological oncologist went above and beyond when he helped her find a way to harvest some of her eggs before her ovaries were removed. The eggs were extracted and frozen right after Christmas 2006, before her second ovary was removed. “I call it my Christmas miracle,” she said, adding “It was a no-brainer for me to do this. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and to have that taken away from me was terrifying. … After the success of the egg harvesting, I feel so calm. I don’t have to worry.”

Now, Katie lives her life moment by moment, but certainly to its fullest. “It’s a sticky subject because these cells are still in your body and I think it’s a matter of if and when something triggers them,” she said. “… [O]ne of the biggest changes I’ve made is to not sweat the small stuff. … Now that I have basically a new shot – a new chance – I try to prioritize on what’s really important. Like, should I worry about tomorrow? Well, no, because tomorrow is not here.”

Fetzer is making a difference by speaking and educating others about ovarian cancer. Always a teacher at heart, Katie speaks to medical students and medical professionals in training as part of an educational ovarian cancer awareness program sponsored by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA). Through OCNA’s innovative educational program, Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives(SM), future healthcare professionals – physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and physician assistants – increase their understanding of ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors so that they can diagnose the disease when it is in its earlier, treatable stages.

Survivors Teaching Students brings ovarian cancer survivors, like Katie, into medical school classrooms to share their stories and key information about the disease. The program is now conducted in more than 50 medical schools around the country and in a number of nurse practitioner, nursing and physician assistant training programs.

During Katie’s teaching sessions, she tells her story to illustrate the difficulty of early diagnosis and the resulting extended and recurring treatment, thereby putting a face and voice to the disease. In turn, Katie’s “students” gain insights into listening to a patient’s concerns and become sensitized to the psychosocial aspects of ovarian cancer as well as the need for early detection.

Katie is in her second year of teaching for the school district of East Troy, Wisconsin. Her kindergartners love her — so much so that her students sent her handmade get well cards when she was hospitalized and made her a quilt. As a result of her earlier surgeries, Katie has a 9-inch abdominal scar. When Katie’s kindergartner students ask if she has a scar from her surgery, Katie simply smiles and tells them that “scars are just tattoos with better stories.”

Katie’s courage and her willingness to make a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer was highlighted in a television news story created by ABC affiliate WISN (Channel 12). The inspirational WISN video is provided below.

[Quoted Source: Twenty-four candles – plus five – Patient celebrates Aurora Women’s Pavilion’s milestone, by Sue Suleski, WestAllisNOW.com, June 29, 2007.]

Young Cancer Survivor Teaches Medical Students About the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

WISN – Channel 12 News Story

“Life Must Be Measured in Its Beauty, Not Its Length”

The title quote above was spoken by Elana Waldman, who is the inspirational ovarian cancer survivor highlighted and honored by H*O*P*E* this week. Simply put, Elana Waldman is an outstanding advocate for cancer research. She educated and inspired luncheon guests at the 2007 Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) Women of Action Luncheon held in Toronto, Canada on April 19, 2007. During her talk, Elana provided an account of her illness and discussed her decision to be the first person in Canada to try an unconventional chemotherapy protocol. “I’m young,” Elana says, “my daughter is young, and the numbers are stacked against me. You do whatever you have to do to get the most time possible.” “Cancer,” Elana says, “has given me a clearer understanding of what life is about.”

As you will see from the excerpt of her April 2007 speech and the video below, “Elana’s courageous battle with ovarian cancer will touch your heart. Elana’s appreciation for everyday miracles will open your eyes. Elana’s determination to help others will inspire you …”

“…I was diagnosed 20 months ago on August 19, 2005. Time is running.

On September 23, 2005, after extensive surgery, I was told the cancer was stage 3c despite my doctor’s earlier belief that it was not that advanced. The diagnosis meant that I needed chemotherapy and only had a 30% chance of surviving 5 years from that point. At 32 years old, while trying to build my family and with a 2 year old daughter, this news was devastating.

When I was told the statistics though, I guess I couldn’t wrap my head around them because I never thought I would die. No one I knew had ever died from cancer. My own mother had fought and beat the disease twice. I knew I had a tough road ahead of me but I always focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and just did what I had to do to get better. It was hard but many others had done it before me and I knew I could and had to do it for my family…..

My cancer has returned. When I was told this time, the news hit me like a Mack truck. The numbers for a recurrence are even worse than for an original diagnosis and my chances for survival are small. I understood the numbers this time and the implications for me and my family. The diagnosis shook me to my core and I had a huge reality check. I have cancer, a potentially fatal disease. This is not something that regular medication can treat and I am now literally fighting for my life, everyday. I have given up my career to focus on my health and my family. I want to enjoy as much time as I can while I feel strong and healthy. I want to be a spokesperson for ovarian cancer for a long time but more importantly I want to see my daughter grow up and I want to grow old with my husband.

These simple goals in life that I now set for myself are in jeopardy so I have truly learned to enjoy all the everyday miracles that I do have – my daughter’s smile, my husband’s kiss, my mother’s laugh. I am more than this disease and I do not want to let it take away everything else that makes me the person that I am. I am asking you to help me continue to enjoy these miracles. Your donations and your generosity allow our scientists to do cutting edge research which will hopefully lead to a cure for cancer. Your support for ICRF directly benefits people who are battling cancer and on all their behalves, I say thank you.”

[Quoted Sources: Israel Cancer Research Fund Newsletter – Issue #5, Summer 2007; “Like Getting Hit By a Mack Truck: One Woman’s Fight With Cancer,” Chaim Steinmetz – Happiness Warrior Blog, April 25, 2007.