September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, when teal ribbons worn over the hearts of people across the country draw attention to a disease that claims the lives of five Canadian women every day.
For many women and families living with ovarian cancer, September is a time of hope. Hope for scientific progress and amplified advocacy efforts. For others, September stirs feelings of anger and frustration.
Ovarian cancer continues to be the most fatal of all women's cancers. Less than half of those diagnosed live to see another five years. And this hasn't changed significantly over the last five decades.
So we walk — and we rally — for precious time. Together, we will stop at nothing for just one more day with the women we love.
The Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope is where the community affected by this disease finds common ground. It's where concerned Canadians come together to take action, a time to mark milestones and band together in support of improved outcomes for generations to come.
For women who have been diagnosed, the walk is a unique opportunity to meet others who can relate to the experience firsthand. These connections are vital and empowering, but they are also few and far between, particularly when it comes to ovarian cancer.
This disease impacts 1.4 per cent of Canadian women. Taken with the vast geography of our country and the devastating mortality rate associated with ovarian cancer, it can be years before a woman comes face to face with someone who understands exactly where she is coming from. Too often this can lead to a deep sense of isolation.
But the walk creates the time and space to come to know others who have been affected. I've heard this event referred to as a beacon of light, a translator in a foreign land when coming to terms with an unexpected diagnosis. First time participants with ovarian cancer are often struck by the realization that they are not alone in the journey when they finally find their "teal sisters" on walk day.
Now the relationships started at the walk will have a permanent home, and it's a direct result of event proceeds. This year's walk brings highly-anticipated news with the introduction of OVdialogue, a new online community where women with this disease can share their experiences, encourage one another, and ultimately find healing.
While there is no cure for ovarian cancer (yet), we are in this together. Walking with and for one another, we're hell bent on changes that ensure women with this disease live fuller, better and longer lives.
This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, have the ladyballs to take action against ovarian cancer. This can mean anything from walking with us, making a donation, or sharing this article with someone with ovarian cancer so that she can get to know others who have been in her shoes.
For more information visit ovariancanada.org.