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Advocacy in Action – Desolina’s Story

By September 6, 2022No Comments

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!

Desolina Postreich

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!

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Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Before ovarian cancer - healthy ovaries

Stage 1 - Cancer is confined to one or both ovaries

Stage 2 - Cancer spreads within the pelvic region

Stage 3 - Average stage of diagnoses is stage 3C; cancer spreads to other body parts within the abdomen

Stage 4 - Cancer spreads beyond the abdomen to other body parts


National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Stages of Ovarian Cancer

Stage 1

The cancer is confined to the ovary or fallopian tube

1A - The cancer is confined to one ovary only

1B - The cancer is found on both ovaries

1C - One or both ovaries are found with cancer cells spilling out from the ovaries

1C1 - Accidental rupture of the capsule by the surgeon during surgery

1C2 - Rupture of the capsule occurred before surgery

1C3 - Cancer cells are found in the fluid of the pelvis/abdomen

Stage 2

Growth of the cancer involves one or both ovaries with pelvic extension

2A - Extension of cancer to fallopian tubes or uterus

2B - Extension of cancer to other pelvic organs

Stage 3

Growth of the cancer involves one or both ovaries, and the cancer has spread beyond the pelvis

3A - Microscopic cancer cells found in upper abdomen or lymph nodes

3B - Visible tumor found in upper abdomen less than 2cm in size

3C - Visible tumor found in upper abdomen greater than 2cm in size, including disease on the surface of liver or spleen

Stage 4

The cancer growth is widely spread throughout the body

4A - Cancer is found in the fluid around lung

4B - Cancer is found inside the lungs, liver or spleen

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

30 Years of Courage


NOCC begins as a grassroots organization founded by advocates and survivors in Boca Raton, Florida


NOCC incorporates as the country’s first national organization providing awareness and education about ovarian cancer.


The first national ovarian cancer information hotline is established (1-888-OVARIAN), now averaging 10,000 calls each year.


NOCC proclaims a week in September “National Ovarian Cancer Week,” with a declaration from President Clinton. “Walk for a Whisper” 5K Walk/Run is initiated.


NOCC and the ovarian community proclaim September as “National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.”


The organization produces television PSA about early detection and distributes to 30 states.

2003 received the Award from OncoLink, the first online cancer resource founded by University of Pennsylvania cancer specialists.

NOCC receives the National Points of Light award in celebration of the success and impact volunteers have made in their communities.


NOCC launches “Body Image/Body Essence” art exhibit by sculptor John Magnan as a tribute to his wife’s journey with ovarian cancer.


NOCC launches the “Break the Silence” national education campaign.


The “Break the Silence” campaign reaches 100M impressions.

NOCC helps launch the first consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms.


NOCC moves its principal place of operation and state of incorporation/registration from Boca Raton, Florida to Dallas, Texas.

NOCC advocates help to double Department of Defense funding for ovarian cancer research to $20M per year.


“Newly Diagnosed Patient Kit” is launched. DVD resource is made available in Spanish and Mandarin; 450,000+ pieces of literature are distributed nationwide.


The Faces of Hope® program and term “Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” are initiated. 

Annual fundraising events are branded “Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer®.”


NOCC partners with The Dr. Oz Show to create his Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer® campaign.

Over 1200 newly diagnosed women receive NOCC’s TEAL PACKET®

The “Ann Schreiber Ovarian Cancer Research Training Program of Excellence: A study by Dr. Ruth Perets” is supported by NOCC with a $50,000 contribution.


NOCC supports quality of life research with the GOG 0225, LIvES Study, which is ongoing and conducted by the University of Arizona Cancer Center.


More than 4,000 Faces of Hope TEAL totes are distributed.


More than 575,000 pieces of education and awareness literature are distributed nationally.

NOCC affirms its commitment to research with the newest  initiative, collaborating with Stand Up to Cancer, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to support the “Ovarian Cancer Dream Team.”

NOCC is featured in the highly coveted showcase window at 10 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan.


NOCC reaches its milestone 25th anniversary.

NOCC becomes an official charity partner for the New York Marathon and launches its first platform for endurance enthusiasts across the U.S - Team Teal®.


Rejuvenate, the first event of its kind, is introduced by NOCC for survivors as a retreat experience centered around the mind, body and spirit; it later expands to a national series.

Not Knowing is Killing Us is launched as a hard-hitting national awareness campaign. 


NOCC's signature Run/Walk Series is rebranded and Together in Teal® Ending Ovarian Cancer is brought to life in communities across the nation.  


Team Teal®, NOCC's endurance platform, expands internationally with participants in Greece and Canada.  

Together in Teal® Ending Ovarian Cancer is hosted at New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a national historic landmark.


In response to the pandemic, NOCC introduces programming offering relief to women and their caregivers including home meal delivery, Comfort for the Soul, and online professional counseling through Comfort the Mind.  

Teal Hearts Network, a series of regional survivor support groups, commences in a virtual setting.

Together in Teal(R) hosts its first virtual experience, No Boundaries, and unites participants in 50 states and 9 countries.  

Signs and Symptoms

Ovarian cancer signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Back pain
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or menstrual changes
  • Pain during sex