As we acknowledge National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month throughout September, we are sharing stories of advocates who are using their passion and skills in unique ways to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. NOCC sat down with Desolina Postreich, a young ovarian cancer survivor and advocate who uses her love of social media and friendship to spread awareness not only in her state of Pennslyvania but across the country with her TEAL friend, Meredith Mitstifer.
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC): Why did you get involved with ovarian cancer advocacy?
Desolina Postreich (DP): I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 5, and at that time, my family and I did not know anything about it. We got involved with the NOCC and met many friends along the way. Some of my closest friends there have since passed away, which made me want to raise awareness so that I could help people who are newly diagnosed and prevent women from dying from ovarian cancer.
NOCC: How did your unique brand of advocacy come about?
DP: During COVID, I met Meredith Mitstifer and many other NOCC leaders on a zoom meeting. She loved that I was wearing a unicorn hoodie blanket during the meeting. After that, we connected on Facebook and started texting each other back and forth. It was like we were instant best friends, and she and my mom surprised me with a fun meet-up with her and her son, Ryan, all the way in Utah while we were on summer vacation. We made our first video in Utah together, promoting the theme, “Everywhere as 1.” In 2021, she joined my team, The Pittsburgh Tealers, and together we raised more than $18,000. She started to do some Tuesday Teal Talks that I was part of with her. This year, she joined my team again, and we decided to make weekly Teal Tuesday videos on Tik Tok, Instagram, and Facebook to promote our walk and talk about the many services that NOCC provides.
NOCC: What advice would you give someone interested in spreading awareness in their community but may not know where to start?
DP: I would say try to find your passion, whether it is making music, making crafts, taking pictures, or just talking to people, and come up with a fun idea of something you would like to do. You can start simple; like last year, I included ovarian cancer symptom awareness cards with every Girl Scout cookie order I delivered. Team up with your friends and family to turn your idea into something really fun. Even if you only teach one person about the symptoms of ovarian cancer or connect one person to the NOCC, it’s worth it!
As an active member of NOCC’s Great Lakes Region, Desolina is a young ovarian cancer survivor and advocate who never misses an opportunity to raise awareness for the cause. Alongside her mother, Katie, and TEAL teammate, Meredith, their Pittsburg TEALers Together in TEAL® team has helped raise the critical funds needed to support more survivors, caregivers, and families affected by ovarian cancer. You can learn more about Desolina’s story and her team by visiting their Together in TEAL® page!