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What Moves You – Maddie’s Story

By August 12, 2022No Comments

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?

Maddie:

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?

Maddie:

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?

Maddie:

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 Pitts

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!

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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

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.  

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