On Saturday, December 6, the Teal Magnolias, an ovarian cancer survivorship group based in Charlotte, NC, raised over $900 during a fundraiser at Painting with a Twist in Charlotte. Proceeds from the event benefit the Carolinas Ovarian Cancer Fund at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute, which supports research related to treatment and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer as well as supports patient education and community awareness programs. Special thanks to Dawn Ralph for organizing this and many other Teal Magnolia fundraising events. Dawn, who continues to inspire so many with her strength and resilience in the face of cancer,  shared a few details of her own journey below.

“I lost my mother to Ovarian Cancer  when she was in her 50’s and have always feared this dreadful disease. As a healthcare professional, I had researched the symptoms and the tests to detect the disease and thought I was on top of prevention and detection but the methods are not as advanced as other cancers.   I had an elevated CA 125 and consistent bloating that did not go away. It was misdiagnosed as a fibroid (not by Carolina HealthCare System). We each know our body and something did not feel right.   I finally realized it was more than a fibroid and sought a physician at CHS.  I was diagnosed on September 11, 2013 and within 48 hours was in the operating room.  My treatment plan included surgery which removed 95% of the tumors as it was stage 3.  The remaining 5% was resolved through chemo therapy and my final day of chemo was on Valentines Day. 

I am cancer free.  Unfortunately the prevention, detection and treatment to prevent the re-occurrence is behind compared to other cancers and there is a need as the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often silent.

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer they begin the fight of their life.  To be healed, it is important to find an outstanding physician, believe in a higher power, take care of the body through nutrition and exercise or movement and surround your self with love and a strong mind.  The mind is powerful. 

My wish is for research to find a test that accurately detects ovarian cancer, a medication that prevents the occurrence for high risk patients with the gene, a medication that prevents the re-occurrence and develop treatment that does not include invasive surgery and chemo therapy at such a late stage.  Women are trained to do a self breast exam but women often do not know the symptoms of ovarian cancer.  Education is needed for all women.  We have a long way to go with research and the Stiletto [Sprint] is a perfect opportunity to raise money for this cause and have some fun.” 

– Dawn Ralph, 2014