As part of its educational outreach, the Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Awareness (GNOCA) group is hosting a July 26 open forum at Plum Island Coffee Roasters. Entitled “Stories,” the informal talk will include personal accounts of the ways in which individuals and families have coped with ovarian cancer, the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Each year, approximately 21,000 American women are diagnosed with the insidious disease, one that has often been overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Three individuals will discuss their experiences with the disease, each from a different perspective. Janice Tangney, a 27-year ovarian cancer survivor, was diagnosed during a routine gynecological exam. She went on to marry, give birth to a healthy daughter, undergo treatment and pursue a long career as a nursing professor of women’s health issues.
Vogel’s wife, Paula Holm, a devoted special education and reading teacher, died of ovarian cancer, but he emphasizes that she “lived fully, joyfully and purposefully until the end.” Vogel also lends the GNOCA volunteers free use of his waterside facility for their monthly planning meetings
Lyn LeGendre lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 1976, but her youngest sister is a five-year survivor of the disease. A West Newbury writer, editor and teacher, LeGendre has also directly experienced the role of patient as a nonsmoking, nearly five-year survivor of lung cancer.
The three speakers will tell their stories and answer questions. The free event is open to the general public. Of course, the information may be of particular interest to those who have been diagnosed or have a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In addition, anyone who is interested in providing or assisting in compassionate care, in learning about community resources and suggested readings, or in joining GNOCA, is encouraged to attend.
In 2011, its initial year, GNOCA sponsored seven events during September, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, raising $20,000. The proceeds went to Ovations for the Cure (ovationsforthecure.com), a nonprofit organization that promotes knowledge of the disease, concrete hope and support for those already diagnosed, and significant scientific advancements leading to the cure. GNOCA is currently planning six local awareness-raising events, including a Lantern Festival, a live Firehouse performance and a three-mile walk, for September 2012.
“Stories” is set for Thursday, July 26, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Plum Island Coffee Roasters is located at 54R Merrimac Street (next to the Black Cow), in Newburyport. For further information, contact Deb Green, at Greetings by Design, 978-225-6700.