Love-hate relationship with ovarian cancer walk

Teal and Toe 5k Walk for Ovarian Cancer Team Bald & Beautiful
Our team (“Bald & Beautiful”) in support of my mom – sitting front row

I have a love-hate relationship with the Teal & Toe 5k Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness.

I love it because I love raising awareness for a cause that is important and meaningful.

I hate it because I hate ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer killed my mom. Enough said.

I love it because I love all the money we have been able to raise for ovarian cancer education and awareness. So far this year, our team, in memory of my mom, has raised over $5,500. In the five years that we have been participating in the walk we have raised almost $50,000 (averaging around $10,000 a year). The walk itself has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the six years since it was founded.

I hate it because I hate asking people for money. I don’t like feeling like I’m being annoying or bothering or spamming people when I ask for their support and time.

I love it because it’s a nice way to remember my mom and pay tribute to her. It’s an event she really rallied behind when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

But I also I hate it because the mix of emotions that comes with it. It is hard to put into words. Like the work I should put into it somehow needs to measure up to the woman my mom was (basically impossible). There’s the guilt that I’m not doing enough and that I’m failing to produce an adequate tribute. I suppose it’s a mixture of grief and my very type-A personality.

But I know that’s not what it’s about and I should focus on the love.

If you take away anything from this blog post, let it be the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer below (after all, the reason we do the walk is to spread awareness). When ovarian cancer is found and treated early, over 90% of women survive. Tragically that is not the case for most women, including my mom – only 15% of woman with ovarian cancer are diagnosed early. By the time my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it was stage 4 – much too late. The amount of pain and suffering she endured over three years is not something any human should have to go through.

Please share the signs and symptoms with your moms, sisters, aunts, friends, family, neighbors (basically anyone with ovaries).

SYMPTOMS OF OVARIAN CANCER:

  • Bloating or increased abdomen size
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Feeling full quickly or unable to eat normally
  • Urinary symptoms of urgency or frequency

Please see your healthcare professional if your symptoms are new or unusual for you, are persistent and occur almost daily for more than a few weeks, or over twelve times a month.

A woman with a strong family history of breast, ovarian, uterine, or colon cancer on father’s or mother’s side of the family, should discuss risk assessment with a genetic counselor. Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer should receive genetic counseling and be offered genetic testing, even in the absence of a family history.

Teal and Toe 5k Walk for Ovarian Cancer
My mom and me at the Teal & Toe Walk in September 2013, shortly after she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer

Feel free to stop reading here. But if you are interested in donating, know that it would be immensely appreciated. Click here and click the “Donate Now” button on the top right corner by my mom’s smiling face.

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My sister, mom, and me in 2014 (the year my sister was captain and my mom was cancer free)

If you live in the Seattle area and are free this Sunday morning (Sept. 24 – it’s supposed to be a sunny day!), we would love for you to join our team and walk for ovarian cancer awareness. Check out the full event information here!

This will be the first year I am not home for the walk, as I am on my go4theglobe journey and am in Munich, Germany (for a bucket list item – Oktoberfest!).

Staudinger family at the Teal and Toe Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness in 2015
My family (minus my brother) at the Teal & Toe Walk in 2015 

I have been the team captain three out of four of the last years (my sister captained the team in 2014) and our dad is taking over as captain this year (you’re doing great, dad!). I am proud to say all four years, we have won the prize for the most money donated and the biggest team. This year we are still leading in fundraising, but are behind on walkers. But it’s not about winning (although my mom loved winning haha), it’s about the cause and a tribute for those affected by ovarian cancer.

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Matt and me at the walk in 2015

I will be wearing teal in Germany on Sunday, as friends and family walk in teal back home in Washington.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my family in memory of my wonderful mom and for helping spread awareness of this terrible cancer.

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Team in memory of my mom at last year’s Teal & Toe Walk (2016)

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