Teal lights to illuminate city for ovarian cancer


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Teal lights are scheduled to shine across Chicago ’s skyline—as well as other major U.S. cities—Sept. 14 to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer Month.

In Chicago, 13 sites—including the Willis Tower, Water Tower Place and O’Hare and Midway airports—are participating in the Teal Lights campaign.

“We have one building spelling out #WhyTeal,” said Sandra Cord, Illinois chapter coordinator for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.“We want people to look [at the building] and wonder [what it means]. It’s another way to

raise awareness.”

The goal of Ovarian Cancer Month is to educate, inform and encourage people about early detection of the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among  women.

The NOCC reported 20,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and 15,000 die annually from the disease. However, early detection can increase  a patients

survival rate.

Susan Fedor, an NOCC volunteer, has been with the organization  since November 2013,  when her mother died from ovarian cancer. Fedor said she enjoys raising awareness so more people can become informed about the disease.

“People don’t know enough about it,” Fedor said. “Ask questions—question your doctors and get other opinions.” 

Cord said ovarian cancer affects  not only the lives of the women diagnosed, but also their friends and family.

“Ovarian cancer is more than a woman’s disease,” Cord said. “If the women in your life are affected, it’s going to have a big impact on your life also. We want everyone—men and women alike—to learn to recognize the symptoms of

ovarian cancer.”

Cord said she hopes the awareness month will encourage ongoing discussion between women and their doctors.

Lisa Mauti, vice president of marketing at the Ovarian Cancer Alliance, said she hopes the awareness month will spark dialogue about the disease to help people recognize early symptoms, including bloating, 

pain, back pain, menstrual changes and fatigue.

“Those are symptoms  every woman experiences, but when you experience them 12 times in one calendar month, that’s when you should  see your doctor,” Mauti said.

There are a number of events planned throughout September in honor of Ovarian Cancer Month, according to Cord. 

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has partnered with Savior Thrift stores to distribute symptom cards to customers.

To thank volunteers, donors and supporters  of the NOCC will host a Teal Light night cruise celebration on Sept. 18 on the Wendella Boats cruise line.

“We [will] celebrate all the work our members, volunteers and supporters have performed throughout the year,” Cord said.

Cord added that the chapter will also participate in the Chicago Half Marathon  Sept. 27 by wearing teal shirts to raise awareness.

“Every impression we make is one step closer to another person being aware and being able to have an impact on the life of their family and friends,” Cord said.