On May 3rd 2014, I joined thousands of National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Illinois Chapter run/walk participants for a 5K walk at US Cellular Field. This was my third walk. It was a really amazing day. After a week that was cold, grey and rainy, this day dawned sunny, bright and a little warm. It was great for a walk.
I participate in the walk in memory of my mother, Ruth Davis (read her story). She was very anxious for others to avoid her fate, and the walk is one way I honor her wish. Although there were 199 teams that participated in this year’s event, I was on my own and looked for others that might want to walk with me. Before the walk started there was an organized warm-up and last year I met Lori there. This year I noticed a woman who seemed to be alone. This was Robin, who is a recent survivor and whose story you can read below. Surprisingly, as I was talking with Robin, Lori came over to say “hello”. And, so it was that the three of us walked together. I was there remembering my mother. Lori was there in support of her sister who lives in L.A. and Robin attended as a new survivor.
The US Cellular Field. (Sox Park) grounds were filled with NOCC supporters, race participants, and lots of tents, for registration and information dissemination from various organizations associated with NOCC. Before the run began there were several individuals directed to audience and shared information, including David Barley, NOCC Chief Executive Officer and National NOCC President Liz Corey, and others. The Chicago Chapter of NOCC run by Karen Young is the oldest, 25 years old, and the largest in the country. Individuals and groups raising the largest amount of money for this event were introduced. The photo of the survivors was taken and then the run/walk began when the runners took off.
Before long it was time to walk. First we walked to and through the track around Sox Park. Next we walked a several blocks into the neighborhood of Bridgeport. As we approached Sox Park again, the city lay in front of us, clear and sparkling in the sun. Lori, Robin and I parted company at this point, having shared many stories.
This is Robin’s Inspiring Story:
I didn’t know life had a pause button until last summer. I was minding my own business, and then suddenly I had ovarian and uterine cancer. While recovering from major surgery to remove all the offending organs and waiting for the staging results and treatment options, I tried to get my arms around the curve ball sent my way. Yikes, I had cancer? Was I going to die?
I had had a persistent symptom with my bladder for well over a year. I had consulted my primary care physician and a urologist, but my complaint went undiagnosed. Then I noticed a bump on one side of my abdomen. For a week or two I pretended it was my wild imagination, but in my heart, I knew it was something else. I consulted with my gynecologist and had a pelvic ultrasound, which revealed a large tumor on my left ovary. She referred me to a gynecological oncologist who scheduled me for surgery the following week. My first knowledge of my cancer status came minutes after my surgery. Quite a wake-up call.
A few weeks later the pathology returned and I had Stage Ic ovarian cancer. I also had a Stage I tumor in my uterus. Aside from the part where this was the Big C, this was excellent news. Ovarian cancer is usually found in Stage II or later. I was lucky. Still, the doctor recommended a course of chemotherapy.
I embraced it all: the chemo crud, the hair loss, and the anxiety that comes with treating cancer. Much of my life was put on pause while I concentrated on my health. On December 31, 2013, I took my last round of chemo. I began 2014 all fresh, new, and hairless. And today, I’m happy to say I’m cancer-free. I have hit the play button and I’m not looking back!
Software Engineer, Romance Writer, Cancer Survivor
There was an announcement about a continuation of this fundraiser - music at 27 Live(27 Live website) in Evanston at 8:30 that night. featuring the ”Beat Tweakers”. When my husband and I went to explore the performance that night we discovered that 27 Live has three parts - a restaurant, and a performance space next to each other, and a whiskey bar upstairs. We checked out the rock band, which seemed to be doing a great job-bathed in bright lights and turned to the highest volume. Ten dollar suggested entry fees were donated to NOCC.
We decided on a snack at the restaurant, which was so good, we will probably return for a meal. While there we had the chance to talk with owner John P.Tasiopoulos. When asked about his connection to NOCC, he explained that he does all he can to raise funds for fighting all cancers but having three daughters, he is especially tuned to fighting ovarian cancer.
To find out about many upcoming exciting local NOCC events, go the NOCC Website.
Photos: Barbara Keer