Throughout 2022, Ovarian Cancer Canada has been honoured to share stories of Teal Sisters living with ovarian cancer. Each person is a member of a community and offers a unique perspective. Their stories can have a ripple effect, prompting waves of support, raising awareness, and inspiring hope. As communities across Canada prepare to come together for the 20th annual Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, the people we all walk for are at the forefront of this mission.
Meet some of the women sharing their experiences to inspire hope this year:
After being diagnosed with stage 3C high grade serous carcinoma at 63, Dulcinée now encourages women to seek support and comfort in their closest relationships. An actress living in Quebec, she spends her time split between her passions – family and theatre. Research into new forms of treatment for ovarian cancer is important to her, as well as awareness surrounding the factors that contribute to the development of this disease.
Ann Squires Ferguson
Ann’s ovarian cancer journey began at a time in her life when she was living a healthy, active lifestyle. She says, “Getting diagnosed with cancer while living this healthy lifestyle makes me realize that it is pure chance, not my fault in any way, and that I am still healthy – I just happen to be healthy with cancer now!” Driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of others affected by this disease, Ann launched a fundraiser in Victoria called ‘A Breath of Fresh Hair’ aimed at raising funding for ovarian cancer research, advocacy, and support in her community. Today, she advocates for those affected who are taking charge of their treatment and encourages self-advocacy.
After being diagnosed with stage two high grade serous ovarian cancer at age 58, Brigitte found her biggest supporter in her sister-in-law and caretaker, Carole. “She means so much to me. She continues to be there for me; she looks at me and knows exactly what I mean,” she says. Today, Brigitte and Carole take an active role in their community inspiring others to come together. They attend Teal Tea gatherings for others living with this disease and organize the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope in their community.
During the third wave of the pandemic, Jaynevie was diagnosed with a stage 4 germ cell tumour, ascites, a large right pleural effusion, a right rib fracture, and left pulmonary embolisms. She underwent vigorous treatment. Today, she hopes that research advancements will lead to better prevention measures for those at risk of ovarian cancer. She also advocates for better fertility preservation for those who hope to have children. Jaynevie found comfort in sharing her experiences with her Teal Sisters at monthly Teal Tea gatherings and encourages others to share their story so that others know they are not alone on their journey.
Diagnosed with cystadenocarcinoma mucinous stage 3C at age 17, Violette is now 58, with no evidence of the disease for 40 years. She credits her parents for motivating her throughout her treatment, saying “They were the towers of courage, perseverance and hope.” Today, Violette encourages others to find the strength to keep going, share their own stories, and find hope in the experiences of others.
In the midst of the pandemic, Edith was diagnosed with serous micropapillary borderline tumor of the ovary, initial stage 2B. Since then, she has dedicated herself to encouraging others to listen to their bodies and advocate for themselves in the doctor’s office. “Don’t be afraid to fight for your health and the care you want to receive, no one can decide for you,” she says. For Edith, and many others, sharing her story is part of processing her journey and healing. “It is important for me to do something concrete that will help me get through what I went through and possibly help other women who, unfortunately, will find themselves in a similar situation,” she says. On September 11, she will join her Teal Sisters and community in Quebec to participate in the Walk to further progress for this disease.
The funds raised by participants of the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope help to ensure access to crucial lifelines for those who need them most. This includes funds for research of ovarian cancer, advocacy to ensure everyone has access to the best available treatment regardless of where they live, and support. This disease has many faces, and Ovarian Cancer Canada is here for every one. Join us at the 2022 Walk on Sunday September 11, 2022. It is time for this community to raise their teal flags high in support of Teal Sisters and all those affected nation-wide. Can we count on you?
For more information and to learn how you can make a difference for those living with and at risk of ovarian cancer, visit ovariancancerwalkofhope.ca.