Heather Weeks, pictured at left in 2006, died in 2008 at the age of 24 of colon cancer. In her last months, she dedicated her life to raising awareness about ovarian cancer. She will be honored at this weekend’s Party for a Cure, which aims to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. All proceeds from the event benefit Hope for Heather, a nonprofit started by Weeks’ family to carry on her legacy.
continued But early detection is tough; that’s why Weeks said events like Party for a Cure are so important.
“We hope that, for the community, we are able to educate women about ovarian cancer,” she said. “There is no diagnostic test. The symptoms are very vague and often indicate other conditions; it is misdiagnosed. We hope to bring people out for an afternoon of music, food and fun, but the awareness of the disease and what we do will be present through everything. When the day is done, we hope women leave with life-saving information in their hands and that they become proactive in helping us spread the word about ovarian cancer.”
This is the third annual Party for a Cure. The event was started in 2010 by local musician Don Martell while his wife, Nancy, was battling Stage IV ovarian cancer.
“He thought it would be a great honor for Nancy and a way to help Hope for Heather, and to get the word out about ovarian cancer,” Weeks said. “Nancy passed away three months after our first event, and we keep it going.”
Martell said his wife went to her doctor multiple times with the same symptoms before she was finally diagnosed.
“Nancy went to her gynecologist for three years complaining about bloating, feeling full, constipation, all the true signs of ovarian cancer, only to be told she was fine,” he said. “If she had only known the symptoms were related to ovarian cancer and insisted on a CA125 blood test or a sonogram, she would be here today.”
Martell said he came up with the idea for a party initially as a way to get entertainers and health care professionals under one roof.
“At our first Party for a Cure, we had bands in one room and health care booths set up in another room,” he said. “It went great. I had so much support from my fellow musicians and the attending public that we had to make it an annual event.