There is always hope — no matter what the statistics say.
That is why the local chapter of Ovarian Cancer Canada is hosting its annual walk on Sept. 8 at Quidi Vidi Lake in support of the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.
Marina Whitten, the walk’s chair, has a personal connection to ovarian cancer, as her mother, Louise, was diagnosed with the disease in August 2013 and lost her battle in September 2014.
In the 1990s she was twice diagnosed with breast cancer and both times was successfully treated. At first, it was thought she suffered from a gallbladder issue, but that diagnosis was later changed to ovarian cancer, a fact her family quickly learned didn’t have a great outcome.
Since then, Whitten has become a national board member of Ovarian Cancer Canada and has been chairing the organizing committee for the walk in St. John’s, now for the second year in a row.
“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, and gain funding and support for the cause. There are 2,800 diagnoses of ovarian cancer in Canada each year and 1,400 of those will die within five years. There has been no change in survivorship over the past 50 years,” Whitten said.
"There are 2,800 diagnoses of ovarian cancer in Canada each year and 1,400 of those will die within five years. There has been no change in survivorship over the past 50 years." — Marina Whitten
More money and research into ovarian cancer has to be done to make more information available and hopefully lead these women to better outcomes, Whitten said.
The Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope is the most powerful event of its kind in the country.
Organized in more than 35 communities nationwide, the walk directs all attention and funds to overcoming the most fatal women’s cancer.
Since 2002, the walk has raised more than $27 million. All proceeds from the walk are used to provide support, increase awareness and fund vital research.
This year’s walk will be held at Quidi Vidi Lake on Sept. 8. Registration and coffee will start at the Boathouse at 9 a.m.
The opening ceremony and warmup will be from 9:30-10 a.m., and the fun run begins at 9:50 a.m.
The walk begins at 10 a.m. and will wrap up with closing ceremonies at 12 p.m.
All proceeds from the walk are used to provide support programs and resources to women affected, and to fund research.
Participants are encouraged to walk one kilometre or five kilometres, or enjoy a fun run that will start 10 minutes before the walk.
There will be lots of family-friendly entertainment, including musical act The False Myths; Disney princesses Ariel and Cinderella from Spoonful of Sugar NL will make an appearance; and Rowena Watkins from Central Hoops will show off her hula hooping skills.
To register or donate, visit ovariancancerwalkofhope.ca.
A number of dignitaries will be involved with this year’s event, including Chief Justice Deborah Fry and St. John’s Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary.
About the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope
Founded by Peggy Truscott in 2002, the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope is organized in more than 35 communities across the country. It is the only walk in Canada to direct all attention and fundraising toward changing lives affected by ovarian cancer through research, advocacy, and support. Get involved or donate at ovariancancerwalkofhope.ca.
Ovarian Cancer Canada champions the health and well-being of women with ovarian cancer and others at risk of this disease, while advancing research to save lives. It is the only national charity dedicated to this disease.
- Ovarian cancer is the most fatal women’s cancer in Canada.
- There is no reliable screening test for this disease.
- Five Canadian women are lost to the disease every day.
- 2,800 Canadian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.
- One out of every two women diagnosed with this disease isn’t expected to live another five years.
- Survival rates for women with ovarian cancer have not improved in 50 years.
While all women are at risk of developing the disease, a woman is at higher risk if:
- She is over 50 years of age.
- Her family has a history of certain types of cancer (ovarian, breast, endometrial, colorectal).
- She is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
- She has a genetic mutation associated with ovarian cancer.
Women concerned about their risk for ovarian cancer should speak with their doctor.
Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include: bloating, difficulty eating, abdominal discomfort and change in urinary habits.
Women should speak to their doctor if they notice new symptoms that persist for three weeks or longer.
This year, Ovarian Cancer Canada secured $10 million in funding from the Canadian government for ovarian cancer research – a first-ever funding – made possible by years of focused and collective efforts and advocacy by members of the community, including women living with this disease.