Turn Teal Natchitoches, a local ovarian cancer awareness group, will host three events in September intended to educate the public about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. Teal is the internationally recognized color used in ovarian cancer awareness campaigns. Local events include a 5K run/walk, a wellness forum and a coffee during which organizers encourage participants to wear teal and become better informed about the disease.
“Too many women are unaware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, sometimes called a ‘silent killer,’ and misdiagnoses are not uncommon,” said Leah Lentz, Turn Teal Natchitoches organizer. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women, excluding skin cancer. It is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Statistics show that a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about one in 67. The risk of getting this cancer and dying from it is one in 95. The cancer is difficult to detect, especially in the early stages.
The Turn Teal 5K will take place on the Northwestern State University campus Saturday, Sept. 21. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the race start at 9 a.m. Participants can register onsite. The fee is a donation to ovarian cancer research.
“This is a fun, family and pet-friendly event,” Lentz said. “People can bring their strollers, bring their dogs and participate in this community event.”
Wellness on Wednesday will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts’ Center for Performance and Technology on Sept. 25. Medical information on the disease, its symptoms, types, stages and treatment will be available.
“Teal the Cows Come Home” Nails and Coffee will take place in the parish hall at Trinity Episcopal Church beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.
“We presented this event last year and it was well-received,” Lentz said. “We will again be offering to paint fingernails teal for a small donation that will go towards ovarian cancer research.” Educational materials will also be available.
Lentz initiated the Turn Teal Natchitoches campaign three years ago when her mother Sue Gregory Coleman was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. At the time, Mrs. Coleman helped her daughter collect educational materials and make ribbons to share with the community. Last year the City of Natchitoches “Turned Teal” after September was announced as the official month for Ovarian Cancer Awareness.
“Though Mom lost her battle this past November, her initiative to break the silence lives on,” Lentz said. “The goal of these events is to raise funds for ovarian cancer research and to increase awareness about the risks, symptoms and treatments of this disease. I hope my mom’s death will make a difference in other women’s lives and help save our mothers, sisters and daughters from this disease.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> or visit Facebook.com/TurnTealNatchitoches. Information on the international initiative to fight ovarian cancer is available through the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition at ovarian.org.