Dunwoody Runner Leads the Charge 6

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and the Sandy Springs-based Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance is honoring local families with a celebratory 5K fun run at Piedmont Park. The community is invited to join this year’s Teal Trot on September 10, which will honor ovarian cancer patients and survivors and raise funds for GOCA’s statewide education and awareness efforts. Presented by Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, Teal Trot is one of the largest ovarian cancer awareness events in the country.

Dunwoody survivor Betsy Gentry plans to run with a team of friends and family.

“Last year, I was going through chemo treatments when the Teal Trot was held and didn’t have the energy to participate, but some very kind friends ran it in my honor,” Gentry says.  “I promised them that I would take part in 2016 as a healthy ovarian cancer survivor. As it turns out, the race is being held on my 33rd wedding anniversary, so my husband and I will celebrate with a very meaningful victory lap! Ovarian cancer can be so silent until late stages, and it’s important to me that women who are diagnosed get information and support as they navigate through treatment.”

Nicole Carter of Brookhaven will also be supporting Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance efforts this month.  Her 9-year-old daughter, Mary Tipton, was diagnosed in February 2015 at only 8 years old and recently celebrated one year cancer-free.

“Until the day our daughter was diagnosed, we honestly had no idea that children could be afflicted with ovarian cancer,” Carter says.  “The symptoms are so similar to many other illnesses, and the ER doctor actually suspected appendicitis until an ultrasound revealed otherwise. We want the public to realize that ovarian cancer can strike ladies of all ages.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016 more than 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and more than 14,000 women will die in the U.S. from this disease. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include frequent urination, eating and feeling full quickly, abdominal pain or bloating, and loss of appetite. Early detection of ovarian cancer saves lives. Studies have found that women who are diagnosed in early stages have an 80 percent 5-year survival rate. However, ovarian cancer does not have a screening test for the general population of women.

“Because of the lack of screening tests and clear cut symptoms, the key to fighting ovarian cancer is education and awareness,” says Doug Barron, executive director of GOCA.  “With events like Teal Trot and the help of supporters like Betsy and Nicole, we’re able to reach the community in a meaningful way and help educate people about this elusive disease.”

Runners and walkers can register for Teal Trot at GaOvarianCancer.org.  Ovarian cancer survivors and patients walk for free.  Otherwise, the fee is $35 to attend.