‘The silent killer’ group raises ovarian cancer awareness in GR

Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-14 23:52:43-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- People in West Michigan who are affected by ovarian cancer spent Sunday raising awareness at the John Ball Zoo.

It was the second annual run/walk in Grand Rapids, with women currently fighting ovarian cancer also taking part in the activities.

Organizer Drew Parker said that ovarian cancer has seen few breakthroughs in treatments over the past 40 years. Parker lost his wife four years ago after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance said that ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women and that 80 percent of cases are diagnosed at a late stage.

"They call it the silent killer," said Parker. "This is about raising money for early testing."

Parker also said that after his wife's death, he felt the need to push for awareness and knows first hand how important it is for other women currently battling the disease to feel the support from others.

"It's very therapeutic for the women, and there is a lot of women here right now that have ovarian cancer, and they love seeing all this support, and they need that," said Parker.

Organizers said that it's important for women to know their family history and to speak with their doctor about any medical issues that might concern them.

Keeping a positive outlook on a dark issue, the group used their color of awareness, teal, and a little play on words to keep the memory alive of those who they've lost.

"Anything we can do to bring out the teal," said Parker. "That was a big thing. Most people don't realize that teal was the color for ovarian cancer, so we are all about spreading the word, and this is just a promotion idea they came up with: 'Shake your teal feathers,'" said Parker.

Parker said that this year's turnout was larger than last year. He added that organizers are already planning for next year's event.

You can learn more about the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance by clicking here.