Western Regional Blog – BC, YK, AB, NWT and Nunavut
Shelley Janze and her mother, Josephine. This year, Shelley is Co-Chair, Sponsorship and Recruitment, of the Vancouver Walk of Hope.
I could give several valid reasons for volunteering – giving back to community, gets me off the couch, raises awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, meeting amazing people etc. My volunteerism is about all of this. But as I go deeper for my primary reason, quite simply put, volunteering for the Vancouver Walk of Hope is my cure for cancer.
My mother was a vibrant, wonderful woman, blindsided by the diagnosis of stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2004, at the age of 66. At that time, my parents were hard pressed to even find a brochure about this disease. And they certainly were unaware of the signs and symptoms. When a close family member is diagnosed with cancer, all you can do is support them. You just want to spend as much time with them as possible, and there is little room for anything else.
In 2007, during my mother’s remission, we participated as a team, Josephine’s Gems, in the Walk in Vancouver. It was so heartwarming, and wonderful, to see so many people come together to support this cause. My mother was comforted knowing that so many people supported her, and that people were beginning to finally hear about ovarian cancer. She was always really mad about the fact that hardly anyone knew about this disease.
We participated in the Walk in Penticton in 2010, and, once again, she was surrounded by people supporting the cause. Sadly, my mother passed away one month later.
In the 3 years since, I have been giving Knowledge is Power presentations to women and organizations about the signs and symptoms about ovarian cancer, and I have been to many trade shows handing out the many brochures now available. My goal is to put this disease on women’s radar – so they don’t dismiss changes in their bodies as a normal part of aging. Detected early enough, the five year survival rates increase.
It is time for me to give back to the community, to give families dealing with ovarian cancer a place and time to come together – to show them that people care, and that the medical community is becoming better informed, and that researchers are working hard to find an early detection test, and a cure.
In the meantime, the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope 2013 is my cure for cancer.
Donate to the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope, to be held in Vancouver on Sunday, September 8, 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Park.