On Sunday, April 14, 2013, I was privileged to attend the inaugural Tell Every Amazing Lady about Ovarian Cancer Brunch (T.E.A.L.) at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn, New York. For me, this event had the feel of a family gathering, while maintaining the precision of a well-planned event that I appreciate in my role as a professional event fundraiser. I was impressed as guests listened attentively as each speaker shared her personal journey with Ovarian Cancer.
Race Taylor, a popular DJ with WPLJ radio, served as Master of Ceremonies. Despite the topic at hand, he instinctively knew when to lighten the mood. Appropriately, there were tears when Jenn Sommerman, a highly regarded triathlete and Ovarian Cancer survivor, shared how this experience influenced her to commit to 50 triathlons, in 50 states, by the time she turns 50 years old. Jenn’s goal is to raise $100,000 for Ovarian Cancer research. To learn more about her progress, please click here.
Ivette Alecia, an elegant woman who is also an Ovarian Cancer survivor, shared her determination to triumph over this disease which attacked her, when she was pregnant with her daughter Amanda, more than twenty years ago. The crowd shared Ivette’s pride when Amanda, a beautiful and poised young woman who was recently crowned Miss Staten Island, stood with her mother. The only word that came to my mind was priceless! I was equally proud of my sisters in Lionism, Lion Paula Spann and Lion Linda Scipio, who volunteered to help at this event. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.
A Brief History of T.E.A.L.
Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation has seen significant growth since its founding in 2007, which is the same year Louisa was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. With the love and support of her sister Pamela Esposito-Amery, Louisa started T.E.A.L. to raise awareness around this disease. As Louisa sought treatment options, she realized very little information was available and the tools required for early detection were just as scarce. The goal of T.E.A.L. is to speed the process of research and understanding, while bringing a cure for Ovarian Cancer closer to the forefront, but there is much work to do. In most instances, where there is a lack of knowledge, tools and treatment options, there is also a lack of funding.
Committed to making a difference, Louisa and Pamela designed various ways to enlist financial support; including the popular T.E.A.L Walk for Ovarian Cancer, which takes every September, which is also designated as Ovarian Cancer month. This year’s walk is set for September 7, 2013 in beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. To learn more please click here.
Since 2009, T.E.A.L. has raised over $287,000 for Ovarian Cancer research. This is truly an amazing accomplishment for T.E.A.L. does not receive support from the foundation or corporate community. The organization does not have a public spokesperson, but it does have the love and dedication of Louisa’s family, friends and their circle of influence, survivors of Ovarian Cancer, volunteers and contributors from the Brooklyn community. Within my circle, there is one organization committed to supporting the work of the Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation – Lions Club International. For full disclosure, I am completing my second year as President of the Brooklyn Metropolis Lions Club, an exemplary group of women and men who have demonstrated their commitment to service.
Before succumbing to this disease in 2011, Louisa received numerous awards for her efforts. She was sought after by many organizations and, even with her health challenges, Louisa made many public appearances for notable organizations including: Gilda’s Club, Stand Up To Cancer and The Today Show. She was also featured in “The Whisper” a documentary that shared her battle with the disease. She received many awards for the work she did while undergoing treatment including an honor by the New York State Senate for Women’s History Month, a Lions Club International Humanitarian Award and a Brooklyn Women of Distinction Award. Here is a segment of Louisa on the Today Show.
T.E.A.L. Contributions for Ovarian Cancer Research
I encourage you to learn more about the impressive contributions this organization has made toward Ovarian Cancer research. Presently, T.E.A.L. is funding a grant, which began in 2012 and extends through 2013, totaling $40,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of a triple screen for Ovarian Cancer. This two and a half-year study is headed by Dr. Barbara Goff at The University of Washington. It is evident that T.E.A.L. is poised to change the conversation around this deadly disease.
Please take the time to become more familiar with the symptoms of this disease. At this year’s T.E.A.L. brunch, I met so many amazing women who all had a story to tell. There was one point during the program when all of the survivors in the room were asked to stand, and there were many. Several women have been affected and, this year, more cases will be discovered. I truly hope there is a breakthrough in treatment options on the horizon.
As a woman, I am making a personal commitment to Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer and I hope that you will partner with Brooklyn Legends on September 7th for this year’s walk in Prospect Park. Additionally, if there is a second annual T.E.A.L. Brunch, it is my dream that Brooklyn Legends will sponsor a table so that others may join in the conversation. This is one secret we should not keep. For additional information about T.E.A.L. and to read about survivors of Ovarian Cancer please see our blog roll.
Ovarian Cancer Ribbon – mdanderson.org
Background about Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation – http://www.tealwalk.org
Photos from the April 14, 2013 T.E.A.L. Bruch – Monique Brizz-Walker
Photo of Pamela Esposito-Amery and Louisa McGregor – http://www.tealwalk.org
Photo of T.E.A.L. Walk participant – http://www.tealwalk.org
Today Show Segment – youtube.com
Ovarian Cancer (September) Ribbon – googleimages.com