In 2016, Donna was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer following a bowel obstruction. A grueling course of chemotherapy followed and after her decision to stop treatment, along came a new commitment to living more good days and an unwavering dedication to raising awareness about this disease. Donna is proud to share her story – from diagnosis and on to living joyously atop her Harley with “Teal on Wheels” emblazoned on the back of her leather motorcycle vest.
Nick was a healthy young man “living for the weekend” in the Heartland of the US when learned first-hand what “life interrupted” means. A lump on the back of his calf turned out to be the tell-tale sign of a rare and aggressive blood cancer called blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm, or BPDCN. Nick shares his story – from diagnosis through treatment and on to recovery – so that other people living with this disease don’t feel so alone.
Lisa shares an intimate and inspiring story of what it means to wake up from a routine cyst removal surgery to hear the words, “You have ovarian cancer.” From that diagnosis to today, Lisa shares the ups and downs of treatment, a special bond with the man who would not leave her side, and her commitment as an advocate and fundraiser to make sure the often hidden signs of ovarian cancer do not stay hidden for long. With the help of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Lisa is a passionate advocate for ovarian cancer and she is our inspiration.
Gayle describes herself as always on the “go-go-go.” Fiercely independent and proud of her grandchildren, Gayle shares the shock of her AML diagnosis and the whirlwind of treatments, quarantines, and lengthy hospital stays that kept her away from everyday life for months. With a mantra of “10 more steps a day,” and a supportive husband and family, Gayle shares how an unexpected post on social media helped her put cancer behind her. With the help of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Gayle is a passionate advocate for acute myeloid leukemia and she is our inspiration.
We have met many amazing men and women whose lives have been interrupted by the progression of cancer. We look to these people as inspiration.
When Andre received a double diagnosis of colorectal and prostate cancers, his only thought was caring for his teenage son. Following surgery, he was physically drained. “I was needing naps all the time and I am not a nap person.” Andre turned to physically challenging workouts to regain his energy. Through it all, he never stopped enjoying his love for the arts, visiting museums, and enjoying sports with friends. Andre’s ”never stop” motivation is an inspiration.
After Ann was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, had surgery, and started chemo, she knew staying home was a recipe for depression. She feared looking up anything about her treatments on the Internet. “I just wanted to get back to normal.” For Ann, that meant walking, trips to the beach, enjoying a movie, and a little shop therapy, “even if it was something small”. Armed with a quick wit, and known for enjoying a good laugh, Ann’s relentless pursuit to make even the most trying of days, good days are an inspiration.
Dan lives and breathes all things sports – broadcasting, writing, watching, and participating. Following treatment, Dan set his sights on building up his strength and energy to get back to coaching his daughter and refereeing local games. He enjoys time with family and friends and the occasional trip to the beach. Dan plans on taking longer bike rides and cheering on his beloved sports teams. With a joyful spirit, Dan approaches every day as a good day.
Elle is a veritable force of nature. Just as her star was on the rise in the culinary world, Elle was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She says the diagnosis and subsequent treatment provided her pause, allowing her to time to reflect and be more present in her life. Elle’s transition from behind-the-scenes food stylist to on-camera personality transformed a once reluctant voice into a powerful one. To pay it forward, Elle founded She Chef, a culinary mentorship and leadership program designed for aspiring female chefs and professionals. Through the support of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, her deeply personal story is becoming known to other women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Whether in front of or outside of the spotlight, Elle is an inspiration.
John says his AML diagnosis, as troubling and bleak as it was, saved his life. The events of 9-11 saw the loss of close to an entire team of colleagues. Following that day and through his treatment, succumbing to this disease was not in his future plan. With a wife and two young sons, a strong support system, and a competitive sports mindset, John powered through the challenges to get back to living and to becoming an advocate for good. John is an inspiration on and off the field – as a coach to his two sons and a voracious advocate and fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Presenting with stage 3 ovarian cancer at 52 was never part of Rory’s plan. A teacher and active mother with a big friend group, she was diagnosed following what she thought was a routine colonoscopy in March of 2007. By August of that same year, Rory underwent a full hysterectomy and completed six rounds of chemotherapy. 14 years later, Rory feels fortunate the experience is behind her. If she can live through ovarian cancer, Rory says, she can live through anything. Today, Rory spends her days enjoying time with friends, walking and shopping to her heart’s content, while remaining an active supporter of women living with ovarian cancer through organizations like Ovations for the Cure.
Strength, resilience, and positivity are just a few of the ways to describe Sandra. These are the qualities she would come to rely on when she was diagnosed with an advanced stage of ovarian cancer while living and teaching in Taiwan in October of 2016. Two years later, after several surgeries and yet another recurrence, Sandra would find herself in Boston receiving best-in-class care from, as she says, incredible minds working to solve ovarian cancer. Her ovarian cancer journey continues today, but Sandra’s light shines brightly as ever. She paints. She camps. She goes on long bike rides. She’s keeping her mind sharp with classes at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement and she’s active in a variety of support groups. There’s never a dull moment in Sandra’s life and it’s why we find, in her, inspiration.