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30 Years of TEAL – Stories of Inspiration Spotlights – Michael Burns

By December 26, 2021No Comments

Father of an ovarian cancer survivor and Great Lakes NOCC volunteer Michael Burns shared his experience supporting his young daughter Kirsten in his original blog post. Michael’s post resonated with many in the TEAL community, so we are excited to catch up with him and hear more about how Kirsten and the entire Burns family are doing. 

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC): How has Kirsten’s health been since your original piece?

Michael Burns (MB): Kirsten continues to have periodic testing and doctor visits. We have been fortunate that all continues to go well.

NOCC: You share in your story that you had to make “quick, semi-informed critical decisions” when deciding on the next steps for Kirsten’s health. In retrospect, what advice would you give to parents who may be facing a similar situation?

MB: Through our involvement in the NOCC, I see where others that have been through the process have had interactions with people in various stages of treatments. It would have been nice to have others to talk to about their experiences and expectations. The doctors did an outstanding job of providing information and answering our questions. It was such a shock to receive the initial news, and we really struggled even to have a base for questions. The internet has so much information that it is sometimes overwhelming to get quick, clear information.

It would have helped to know support organizations such as NOCC were available when we received the initial diagnosis. It may have been comforting to hear from someone else and maybe made us more confident in the quick decision-making.

NOCC: You mention “hopefully through the involvement of NOCC and other publications” that you can help spread awareness of ovarian cancer to support early detection. How has your involvement with NOCC supported this goal for you and your family?

MB: Our family has been very active in two areas relative to the NOCC and raising awareness. We work to expand team participation each year through our walk/run team, “Kirsten’s Krew,” we work to expand team participation each year. We look forward to getting back together in person this year to really build the team feeling again. Although many of our family and friends were aware of Kirsten’s history, it is a good annual reminder to all of them. As our team members bring new friends to the team, it also increases their awareness.

The local Teal Taps program has allowed us to interact with people in a casual restaurant or brewery setting. By bringing other friends to the event and interacting with new people at the location, it raises awareness. As you interact with people, they are always very surprised when they hear Kirsten’s story and others impacted at such a young age. It is also common to hear other stories from patrons about how Ovarian Cancer has affected their family too.

Michael Burns

Mike Burns is a husband and father of 3 daughters living in Pittsburgh. The entire Burns family continues to be active in NOCC Pittsburgh events including the walk/run and Teal Taps program. You can read his original blog post here.

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