Ovarian cancer hits home for walk organizers

Ovarian cancer often sneaks under the publicity radar and a group is trying to raise awareness of this disease with an Ovarian Cancer Walk

Ovarian cancer often sneaks under the publicity radar and an active group is trying to raise awareness of this disease by holding an Ovarian Cancer Walk on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. at the Cowichan Sportsplex.

Registration starts at 9 a.m.,  then there will be a zumba warm up and then off they go, according to Emily Clements, of Adagé Studio, organizer of the event.

“Mr. Mikes is coming to barbecue mini Mikeburgers by donation, and we’ve had donations from many other businesses in the Valley so there will be prizes for the team that raises the most money,” she said.

The event has become very personal for Clements and her family.

The walk was originally brought to Duncan because of Jean Jordan, who is still battling the disease, but in 2011 Clements and her family saw it draw close to them, too.

“Our mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that year and so we joined the walk. Jean had organized it that year but going through chemo at the same time meant that job was a lot for her. Organizing it is a big undertaking. So, because Adagé Studio had large numbers on our team, she approached us and asked would Adagé like to take this over. My sister and I took it over last year,” she said.

They were able to share that walk with their mother before she died Nov. 21, 2014.

So, in one way, this year’s event has become almost a memorial walk for their mother.

“It’s really important to my sister and I, this event, because ovarian cancer is not well known in our world at least until you’re diagnosed,” said Clements.

“Breast cancer is well known and there’s screening for it. But there isn’t any screening for ovarian cancer and it’s not a curable cancer. So what happens with ovarian cancer is that it’s found only when it’s gone somewhere else in the body,” she said.

It’s often a surprise.

“You find it that way; you’re having other symptoms. There isn’t a lot of literature on it, either.

“My sister and I didn’t know anything about it. My mom didn’t know anything about it. And you can attribute those symptoms to many other things: too much wheat, going through menopause, feeling a little bit bloated. It’s just not easy to pinpoint. So you overlook them,” she said.

Clements said their goal is to “make sure everyone knows about this and maybe mention it to their doctor because it might not be the first thing physicians check for either. They have lots on their plates and there are so many things it could be. Everyone should have it on their radar. And, if we could raise some money at the same time, we can find some new science and find a way we could screen earlier.”

To kick off the awareness campaign in style, a lemonade stand held by enthusiastic young fundraiser Ryland Racicot and friends at Beverly Corners raised $402.75 on Friday.