My friend Alison Devenny, board member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) and founder of its Junior Committee, recently hosted a Zumba workout class to raise awareness about OCNA and its mission to increase public and professional understanding of ovarian cancer and to advocate for more effective diagnostics, treatments, and a cure.
Alison is an intelligent, caring, and driven woman who first got involved with OCNA when friend and mentor, Judy Abrams was looking for a way to increase the involvement of young people with the organization. Knowing that it could be a powerful tool, Alison started the Junior Committee with the charge of bringing on members of the Millennial Generation and having them be an active force within the organization. They started with a small group of young professionals with a passion for philanthropy and now have a group of 30 active members who have planned more than 15 charity events including walks, galas, shopping nights and fitness events in New York City.
With the success of the Junior Committee, Alison was asked to join the Board of Directors in 2010 as their youngest member ever. She now has the unique experience of leading the Junior Committee in New York and working as a member of the board focusing on fundraising and advocacy on a national level. Through her work, Alison says she is continually inspired by the passion and grace of the ovarian cancer survivors she meets and the community of leaders and advocates who work on the behalf of women everywhere.
All in all, I am inspired by Alison and the work she does on behalf of OCNA. I invite you to check out the Junior Committee’s website for upcoming events and ways to get involved.
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance:
Based in Washington DC, The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a patient-led, umbrella organization uniting ovarian cancer activists, women’s health advocates and health care professionals in the effort to increase public and professional understanding of ovarian cancer and to advocate for more effective diagnostics, treatments and a cure. Key activities include an annual national conference, a public education program targeted to women and primary care physicians, and training programs to help survivors become effective advocates and spokespeople for the disease.
- Ovarian Cancer is the deadliest gynecological cancer. There is no cure and no early detection test. There are symptoms and understanding these symptoms is a powerful tool for women to protect themselves.
- The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013, about 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 15,500 women will die of ovarian cancer in the United States.
- While the 10th most common cancer among women, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. Mortality rates are slightly higher for Caucasian women than for African-American women.1
- A woman’s lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 72.
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
While most women will experience these symptoms at some point in their lives. Women are encouraged to consult their doctor if they experience any of the above symptoms for a period of more than two weeks.