For August, we highlight advocacy in action as we share stories of those making a difference with their miles and spreading awareness of ovarian cancer. Hear from Maddie, daughter of an ovarian cancer survivor and Team TEAL participant, as she shares how she uses her passion for physical activity to support ovarian cancer awareness and research.
NOCC: How did you become involved with the NOCC?
My mom was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer in the spring of 2022. I went online looking for a way to help contribute to research, education, and the battle against ovarian cancer. I came across the NOCC and started a fundraiser for the 50K I am running this September.
I was also a nurse at a Women’s Health clinic for years and still work there occasionally. Before my mom’s diagnosis, I was a big proponent of advocating for Women’s Health and its research. While it took her diagnosis for me to raise money, I am hoping to give other people the chance to contribute to this cause before needing the benefits from it. You never know who ovarian cancer will affect, and you want the education and research to have already been well funded when it hits closer to home.
NOCC: Why is physical activity important to you?
Physical activity has always been an outlet and hobby for me. I was a college athlete, and when I graduated, I moved to Jackson Hole to ski for winter and never left. When you’re surrounded by fun and social ways to spend time active time outside, it seems effortless. However, if you told me 15 years ago that I’d run multiple marathons, I would never have believed you. Running was always just a way to get in shape for the other activities I pursued – I never loved it until I discovered trail running.
After losing two of my best friends in an accident in the mountains, I used running as a coping mechanism and a way to remember them. That’s when I really started to focus on it. I think it’s important to find a physical activity you love, not just for physical health but also for mental health.
Throughout her treatment, my mom has been able to exercise, which has really helped her. She feels inspired by the research showing it positively affects outcomes.
NOCC: What would you say to someone considering getting active for the first time or after some time away from physical activity?
Find something you like to do and ease into it. Set reasonable goals for yourself and find fun ways (or good causes) to help motivate yourself to achieve them.
Use the time to be social with friends or your partner, listen to an audiobook or a news podcast, watch a movie while you spin or whatever you want to do for your “me time.”
Make a habit of it – find a time of day that works best for your body and schedule and stick to it.
Reward yourself for what you have achieved relative to your goals, not what others are achieving.
Maddie is an ovarian cancer advocate and health care professional who is passionate about staying active and supporting NOCC through our endurance program, Team TEAL. Maddie runs to support NOCC’s awareness and research efforts on behalf of her mother, who is currently in active treatment for ovarian cancer. She is currently fundraising to run a 50k in the Wyoming Red Desert – to learn more about her story and support her efforts, visit her fundraising page here!