Raising awareness and support for ovarian cancer

Raising awareness and support for ovarian cancer

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's estimated 22,240 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Of those, the American Cancer Society estimates 14,070 will die from their cancer.

A local group is working to help those suffering from this disease and you can join the cause this weekend.

Three words changed the lives of two women. While 30 years separated them they both heard "You have cancer" the same year.

"It was, it hit me, very hard," explained Luanne Strow, an Ovarian Cancer survivor.

"It was very difficult for me," said Rachel Neff. "I was young, I was newly married, a new step mother so to come out of it hearing the word cancer was hard enough and then also it has not allowed me to have children."

Rachel and Luanne were both diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer ten years ago. Both say looking back they experienced signs and symptoms like bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, urinary symptoms and trouble eating.

While they felt some of those they never realized a connection until after they were diagnosed.

"I wish I had known that that's what I was feeling and that's what was leading up to," said Luanne Strow.

"I've learned, first of all, to not downplay any symptoms and not to let anybody tell me that what I am feeling is not something maybe more or maybe less," explained Rachel Neff.

Both women underwent surgery and began chemotherapy. Rachel has six sessions, and Luanne 18. It was the support from others that helped them through the toughest moments.

"It meant the world to know that you're not in it alone and to really feel like there were other people that wanted to be there if you needed to cry or if you were sick," said Neff.

While both women are in remission now, neither Rachel or Luanne knew about the Ovarian Cancer Connection when they were fighting. Once they learned about the volunteer organization they became involved and are now board members, helping others who have been where they were.

"Now that I know about them, I want to get the word out because this is a tremendous group and we're expanding all that we're doing," said Strow.

Saturday they will hold their first ever Mary Lou Davis Memorial Glow Roll at Westgate Village Shopping Center. All the money raised from the 10-mile slow roll will help them raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer in our area and help local families fighting the disease.

"Ovarian Cancer is very, very generic in its symptoms. We really want that awareness to spread," said Kathy Mannon, president of the Ovarian Cancer Connection. "And then the financial assistance we provide that we raise money for just on our own. We do a lot of gas cards for ladies who are going back and forth to treatment, we've helped with other things, medical bills, a house payment. Helping in that manner so that these ladies can just relax and heal and let their bodies rest take some of that stress off, that's what we do."

It's not too late to register for the first ever Glow Roll to support the Ovarian Cancer Connection. You can show up to the event Saturday August 4 and register for $25 at Westgate as early as 5 p.m.

Bike riders will begin the slow roll at 7:30 p.m. but family activities will be available before.

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