Teal There’s A Cure keep up the fight against ovarian cancer
By Connor Fogel
With over $260,000 raised for ovarian cancer research since its first race in 2009, the Maureen T. O’Hara “Teal There’s A Cure” Run/Walk hopes to promote awareness and continue supporting research and treatment of the cancer.
The ninth annual 5k race will be held on Tuesday, July 4 at 9 a.m. in Marcellus Park.
Maureen T. O’Hara founded the race in 2009 with the help of family and the community after she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.
“She wanted to have a race, run/walk, to promote awareness of ovarian cancer because she was diagnosed with it,” Kevin O’Hara, Maureen’s brother and race co-president, said. “She was a nurse practitioner. She was as healthy as can be. It’s one of those diseases that are hard to detect, so that’s why she wanted to get the awareness out there to other women.”
Three years after passing away in 2012, the race’s committee decided to rename the race in her honor.
Planning for the annual race started in January, when the committee met once a month until May when they began meeting twice a month. O’Hara and his sister Eileen Tickner are the race committee’s co-presidents.
O’Hara said everyone in his family has a role in the event to continue Maureen’s tradition, and Tickner’s work leading committee meetings, doing registration and as the event’s treasurer helps lead their family and the committee to honor Maureen.
“People have been very supportive, and my family’s grateful,” O’Hara said. “We didn’t realize it was going to take off like it has. We’ve been able to raise more money than we thought that we we’re going to be able to raise to give to research.”
During its first race, the event had around 300 participants, O’Hara said. Last year with over 500 runners and walkers, the race raised $34,000, which was donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, Upstate Cancer Center and GRACE’S, Gynecologic cancer survivors Reinforcing Awareness, Caring, Education and Support.
“The biggest thing is awareness,” Kelly Tickner, Maureen’s niece, said. “With ovarian cancer, it’s so hard to detect. That was my aunt’s main thing — to get awareness out there so people understand the signs for ovarian cancer. Because for a woman they can be every day issues that you’re dealing with.”
According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States. Most cases are not diagnosed until a later stage, resulting in a 28 percent survival rate for the 22,000 women diagnosed each year.
Runners and walkers pass signs along the course that show information to spread awareness and support and also inform people of different signs and symptoms to hopefully catch the disease earlier, like the acronym for symptoms, B.E.A.T. — bloating that is persistent, eating and feeling full quickly, abdominal and pelvic pain and trouble with the bladder.
After the race is finished, an award ceremony will be held at 10:15 a.m. to present medals and prizes to the top two male and female finishers in each of the three age groups, and also the top two male and female finishers in the entire race.
To register for this year’s race, forms can be found throughout the village of Marcellus, including the town hall. Preregistration is $25 if mailed by June 21 and then $30 if mailed in before the day of the race. Day-of registration is $40 in Marcellus Park.