Skip to main content

I was diagnosed with stage IIIB low-grade serous ovarian cancer in 2016 and later reclassified as stage IV in 2019 with a high-grade ovarian cancer tumor in my chest. I have been living with both low-grade and high-grade ovarian cancer. I am now five years into my ovarian cancer journey and am glad to not only be surviving but thriving. I could not have debulking surgery when I was diagnosed due to severe pelvic radiation damage from cervical cancer treatment in 1990. Chemotherapy, Letrozole, one of the estrogen-blocking drugs, and surgery for the chest tumor have been my treatments so far.

In 2016, when I was diagnosed, I started attending the Turning the Tide Ovarian Cancer Retreat in Maine, near where I live. As a result, I have met many women with ovarian cancer and have heard their stories. Unfortunately, many of the women I have met over the past five years have died from their disease. I find that unacceptable—losing women too soon to this cancer. So, I felt called to action to spread awareness about ovarian cancer to help other women. But, how could I do this? How could I make a difference? I wanted to help women get an earlier diagnosis and hopefully have a better outcome.

In 2019, I decided to combine my love for motorcycle riding with raising awareness about ovarian cancer by buying a teal and white Harley-Davidson motorcycle, filling the saddlebags with 1,000 ovarian cancer symptom cards supplies by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC), and ride across the United States sharing my own cancer story and the symptom cards with everyone I met along the way. So I called my trip TEAL on WHEELS—teal being the color that represents ovarian cancer.

I shipped my bike to the West coast, flew out, and rode from Coos Bay, Oregon to my home on Swan’s Island, Maine—from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The ride took place in September to coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. My TEAL on WHEELS journey covered 6,198 miles, with more than 5,000 miles ridden alone. I traveled through 19 states and distributed 770 NOCC ovarian cancer symptom cards to women and men that I met along the way. I also donated $45,000 to several ovarian cancer non-profits, including NOCC, after my ride.

When I returned home from my TEAL on WHEELS ride, I got a message from a 39-year-old woman named Mandi. I had shared my story and had given a symptom card to her husband, Brent. Mandi shared with me that she had been sick for two years but could not get a diagnosis. She wrote that armed with the ovarian cancer symptom card, she got an appointment with her gynecologist and insisted on a transvaginal ultrasound. A mass was found, and Mandi was diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer. She concluded her message to me with the following, “You saved my life, and I can never repay you.” Mandi’s story confirmed that what I had set out to do—raise awareness about ovarian cancer—had been achieved. I have continued my mission of raising awareness and distribute NOCC’s symptoms cards everywhere I go.

I often say if I could turn the clock back and never have this cancer, I’m not sure I would. It has been hard, very hard, but it has also changed my life in many ways, in positive ways. I have met many wonderful people through my cancer journey and have had many amazing experiences. I would never have ridden my motorcycle across the country if I didn’t have cancer. I would have always thought there was more time to do these things later in life. But, now I know, the time is NOW!

Donna Weigle

I recently completed writing a book about my ovarian cancer journey and my TEAL on WHEELS ride. It’s called FINDING COURAGE: Navigating Cancer on my Harley. My book shares my story of navigating my cancer journey and navigating my way across the country on my motorcycle. The book is 220 pages and contains over 60 color photos. Inside the books that I sell, I include one of NOCC’s ovarian cancer symptom bookmarks. My book is available online at:
https://tealonwheels.square.site/

Make a donation

Contact us

Find a support group

Close Menu

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

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

30 Years of Courage

1991   

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

 1995   

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

1996   

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

1998   

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.

2000   

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

2002

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

2003

Ovarian.org received the Oncolink.com 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.

2004

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

2006

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

2007

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

NOCC helps launch the first consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms.

2008

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.

2009

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

2010

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®.”

2011

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.

2012

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

2013

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

2014

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.

2016

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®.

2017

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. 

2018  

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

2019

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.

2020

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.  

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

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