Tania Vrionis discusses the importance of community during ovarian cancer awareness month

The momentum is building – September is right around the corner and it’s a busy time for the ovarian cancer community. With events like the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope taking place during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, now is the time to show your support and make an impact.

How can you get involved? We sat down for a Q & A with Ovarian Cancer Canada CEO Tania Vrionis to hear all about upcoming events, important progress being made, and the importance of community.

How are Ovarian Cancer Canada and supporters making their mark?

I’m trying to hang onto summer as long as possible – but it’s hard when we have so much to look forward to this September! September is an important month. It is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, an entire month dedicated to putting ovarian cancer on the map, calling the attention this cause so deserves and raising our teal flag high. But that’s not all – taking place on Sunday, September 11 is the annual Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope where women living with ovarian cancer, their families and friends, fundraise and come together to support one another. We also have events returning to Atlantic Canada and passionate supporters and partners hosting their own events. From golf tournaments to breakfasts to marathons, it’s a time of year that we really see the teal flag raised high far and wide!

What are you looking forward to at the 2022 Walk?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Walk and quite frankly, I’m excited because we’re making our return to in-person Walks across the country and coming together virtually to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they’re walking, can be a part of the national movement.

I’m looking forward to everyone joining us and want them to be proud of the connections they have made. I encourage you to take a moment at the Walk to look around and see the faces of everyone who is coming together in support of this important cause. We are out here, and we are all in this together.

For the Teal Sister living with ovarian cancer attending the Walk – whether it’s your first in-person Walk or your tenth, or you’re joining us virtually, my hope is that you feel the support you’re surrounded by. You are not alone.

It’s a very special moment when people from all walks of life come together in support of this cause and work together to improve outcomes for others, it’s a bond that cannot be broken.

We have a lot to walk for. We are walking for hope, for progress, and walking for a brighter future for everyone affected by this disease.

The Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope is back!

Are there other ways we can get involved this ovarian cancer awareness month?

We all have a role to play to help make change a reality – any action is a step forward, and there is a place for everyone at the table to support our mission. There is a champion in each and every one of us.

So many things come to mind when I think about how this community shows up for the cause. From sharing personal experiences and raising awareness to showing up and supporting someone at the Walk to sharing the signs and symptoms on social media and educating your network, these selfless acts bring this important cause to the forefront.

We are building a community, building a bigger voice that cannot be ignored – and we need more voices. You can make a difference for someone across the country you’ve never met or your closest friend.

What motivates you to push for progress and show up every day for this cause?

Each year approximately 3,100 Canadians are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than half of them will not survive five years beyond their diagnosis. We are committed to pushing progress, fast. Real change is needed.

We have a duty to stand up for those affected by this disease, to serve our community and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard – even those who cannot speak for themselves. The support that we have from the community, from my colleagues, partner organizations and sponsors who are committed and stand up for this cause is invigorating.

This past June at the Canadian Conference on Ovarian Cancer Research in Ottawa, a network of researchers came together to share updates and learnings from their ovarian cancer research projects. We also had the pleasure of inviting our Patient Partners in Research to attend. After hearing their feedback, questions and experiences contributing to groundbreaking research, you couldn’t help but leave inspired and eager to see what’s next. The ovarian cancer research community here in Canada is one of the most engaged and collaborative in the world. We are on the cusp of something big and the future is bright.

Ovarian Cancer Canada at the 10th Canadian Conference on Ovarian Cancer Research on May 27 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Ovarian Cancer Canada (Patient partners, staff, and board member) at the 10th Canadian Conference on Ovarian Cancer Research on May 27 in Ottawa, Ontario.

Most importantly, what motivates me is knowing that at the center of all that we do is a person living with ovarian cancer – or someone who touched the lives of many and is no longer with us. That is why we show up every day, why we can’t stop now and leave no stones left unturned and why we are determined to help save lives.

I hope that you will join me this September, as we make our mark across the country. However you choose to show up for the cause, know that you’re a part of a community dedicated to furthering progress against this disease – because there simply isn’t time to wait.