A show of support: Together in Teal 5K hopes to bring awareness about ovarian cancer

One in 78 women will develop ovarian cancer.

In 2022, it is estimated that 19,880 women will be diagnosed with the disease, which has a 93% five-year survival rate if caught in its early stages.

The problem: There are currently no tests for that early diagnosis.

And without that early detection, only 20% of all cases are found in a timely manner. If caught in stage III or higher, the survival rate drops to about 30%.

These numbers by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition,, are daunting. That's why the organization is working hard to educate women about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as to support people who have been diagnosed.

According to the website, common symptoms of the disease are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, and frequent urination.

Since there is no screening for the disease, it is important that women pay attention to the changes in the body so they can alert their doctor.

"It is so crucial that our organization leads the effort to get out in the community and spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of this deadly disease," said Karen Young, Midwest Regional manager for NOCC, in an email.

Ovarian cancer survivors give a group hug at a previous Together in Teal 5K held by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. courtesy of National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

"Because there is no early detection test like some other gynecologic cancers, women are most often diagnosed at a late stage and the survival rate is poor. We hope, through our efforts, we can reach more people so that no woman ever loses her life to ovarian cancer again."

As part of fundraising efforts for support programs and other free services, the NOCC will host its Together in Teal 5K Oct. 15 at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, as well as other events in September, which is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Young discusses the organization and its upcoming 5K.

Q: What is the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition?

A: National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

I oversee the Midwest region, which contains six states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The mission of the NOCC is to fight tirelessly to improve the quality of life of survivors and caregivers with ovarian cancer, and to make the general public aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease in the hope that no woman will ever lose her life to ovarian cancer.

Q: What are some of the programs offered?

A: Some of the programs that are offered at NOCC are free financial assistance, free meals, free counseling, online support groups and free educational workshops and events.

We also feature a newly diagnosed care package that is given to each woman diagnosed and treated at some of the top hospitals throughout Chicago.

Walkers celebrate taking part in the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's Together in Teal event. The mission of the NOCC is to fight tirelessly to improve the quality of life of survivors and caregivers with ovarian cancer. courtesy of National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

Q: Tell us about the upcoming Together in Teal 5K.

A: This is our first year back in person with our Together in Teal signature walk! And this is a special anniversary year - celebrating 25 years of walks in the Chicago area.

Our event will be held Saturday, Oct. 15, at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The event will run from 8-11:30 a.m. and registration is free this year.

There is no minimum requirement for this fundraising event; however, we do encourage survivors and family members alike to set up a team and ask their friends and family to support their team and support the work that we do to provide quality programs and services.

Q: How can people participate?

A: Anyone who would like to attend our event can register at

Also, if there are those who are interested in volunteering, they can contact Karen Young at

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: There are two options for those who would like to support our efforts but cannot participate on Oct. 15. You can either register as a virtual walker and walk anywhere in the country on that day with us, or you can donate to a friend's page or to the event in general as well.

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. There are many other activities going on throughout the month in addition to our walk in October.

We have a Teal Light Celebration cruise happening in downtown Chicago Sept. 16. This fundraising event is focused on the many downtown buildings that will be lit up in teal, spreading awareness about ovarian cancer.

Throughout September, in a variety of communities, women go out and tie teal ribbons up and down major streets to spread the word. Some of the towns that we have commitments from are Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Mount Prospect and Lemont.

We will have a full social media campaign educating the public about ovarian cancer throughout the month of September, with posts that people can share to educate their own personal networks.

• • •

Together in Teal 5K

What: A fundraising walk to benefit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

When: 8-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton

Details or to register:


Cost: Free; however, teams are encouraged to ask for donations.

‘I kept on praying that I would survive this cancer’

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