Photo by Chris Shaffner
On April 16, the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) held its Black, White, and Teal gala at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. MOCA serves more than 1,000 survivors and has a network of more than 45,000 supporters. Since its founding in 1999, MOCA has awarded more than $6 million to 60+ ovarian cancer research projects in Minnesota.
Kathleen Bowling: I’m an ovarian cancer survivor and just reached my five-year level of survivorship. I was diagnosed with stage IIIB, which is just short of being stage IV. Do I live differently now? Absolutely. I thought that would get old after a while, and it hasn’t. Once you face the possibility of losing your life, then the life that you have is a gift.
Deb Shatto: I’m an almost five-year ovarian cancer survivor and a member of a support group called the Chemo Chicks. Besides the friendship, there’s hope, because you see all of these ladies who are doing so well. When someone recurs, you’ve got support built in. Ovarian cancer is a recurrent disease, and we keep fighting, just like someone with diabetes.
Teri Woodhull: I’m an ovarian cancer survivor. When I recurred last year, my chemotherapy wasn’t successful. I easily could have gotten really down, but instead I decided to keep going. I found a clinical trial. Now it’s a year later, and I’m going to Jamaica tomorrow to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary with my husband. You have to keep focused on the things that are positive and that you can control.
Keri Noble: My mom passed away six months ago of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a mysterious thing, so one of the big reasons why we’re here is to raise money to gain awareness and to get research to eventually [develop] a test so that women aren’t questioning what’s happening to their bodies.
Curt Ogdahl: My mom passed away from ovarian cancer seven years ago.
Amanda Ogdahl: His mom went 18 months misdiagnosed. At one point she thought she was going to die before figuring out what was wrong. She demanded they do a CAT scan, but they never once did a pelvic exam. The tumor was the size of a grapefruit. When they found it, she had stage four ovarian cancer, but she also lived eight years after that. She beat the odds.