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As an ovarian cancer survivor, I will race in 50 triathlons in all 50 states by 50-years-old to raise $100,000 for ovarian cancer research. This campaign is self inspired, self orchestrated and 100% self funded. In addition, all in-kind donations are turned into cash donations by me in the same name of the person who donates. I race for women who have lost their battle, women undergoing treatment and women yet to be diagnosed.

Please help with even a $10 donation!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Full Page

The Long Island Herald did a full page piece last week on my campaign and our Southeast Asia trip that followed.  Click here to read the article.  I was really blown away by the support.  Thanks to the author for taking the time to write such a thoughtful piece.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rev3 Poconos 70.3 or Bust

Last weekend my buddy John Lee and I completed a half Ironman triathlon, measuring 70.3 miles in distance in the beautiful Pocono Mountains.  It was put on by Rev3 and included a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a half marathon or 13.1 mile run.  He talked me into it as it was NOT on my bucket list.  But in for a penny, in for a pound.  With an 8 1/2 hour cut-off, I was hoping for 7 1/2 to 8 hours to complete the event. 
I am happy to report we both surpassed our goals. My time was a stellar 6:28 and qualified me for 3rd place in age.  I am still in shock!  I knew I was prepared (I had hired a coach to set up my training program but really so I could blame her if I couldn't complete the event) but never expected to feel so good throughout the day.  
I was fortunate to find someone to draft off of on the swim and stayed in her bubbles for most of it.  Saving energy I felt fresh out of the water.  However the freezing air temps quickly took the wind out of my sails.  46 degrees with a 5 mile bike descent, I could barely control the bike because I was shaking so much.  By mile 30 I was warm enough to take my first bit of hydration and nutrition.  The scenery was spectacular and before I knew it, the bike was over. 
Ugh, the run.  My nemesis and the sport I suffer through. Another suffering runner and I teamed up at mile 2 and ran the entire rest of the way together.  I paced us; he talked non-stop and distracted me.  A match made in heaven.  The miles flew by with cramping only starting at mile 10.  Some walks in between and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner to home, hoping my family was there because I was so ahead of schedule.  I could hear my mom in the distance screaming, "there she is, she's coming".  
In the 30 minutes after the race, I declared I never need to do that again and then changed my mind 4 times. My cousin and husband have an ongoing bet. If you ask me today, yep, I'll do another next year. But there's plenty of time to change my mind. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

September is Awareness Month

My goal is to always promote awareness around ovarian cancer, especially concerning signs and symptoms and early detection.  But September is especially important because it it National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  As you probably know, TEAL is the color for ovarian cancer awareness so be on the lookout for TEAL popping up in your area.  And if you don't see it, introduce it.  Wear teal clothes, hang a teal ribbon from your car's antenna, put on a ribbon on your front door... be creative but spread the message of TEAL in your community.  Talk to everyone you meet, tell them what you know and if you don't know something about ovarian cancer, ASK.  You never know how it can save a life, maybe even yours!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Super Saturday, QVC and Me!

It all started with Super Saturday and QVC.  In 2010 my first interview was aired and from there, my campaign was catapulted.  Until then I hadn't started a social media campaign, nor considered myself a spokesperson for this disease.  It quickly became apparent this was a new direction for my 50x50x100 campaign.  On July 26 at this year's Super Saturday event, QVC will do a follow up story and I will be interviewed again.  What an exciting opportunity to share an update on the campaign and also continue to educate viewers on early detection and signs and symptoms.  Find your QVC station and tune in from 2-4 pm to watch Super Saturday LIVE.  Oh, and do some shopping while you're at it.  It all benefits a great cause.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Triathlon Season Has Begun

What a great start to the triathlon season!  I was able to be the guest kick-off speaker at the Power of the Woman Triathlon.  An inaugural, all women's event, the venue provided a solid opportunity for me to talk to women about ovarian cancer.  Especially exciting was that I encouraged my Gyn-Onc to race her first triathlon that day.  It was very special to share the day with the woman who saved my life seven years ago.
I wound up taking 1st in my age group which has qualified me for the USATriathlon Nationals in Wisconsin.  I won't be able to race it but it was very exciting to qualify. 
Next weekend is the Lake Hickory Triathlon in North Carolina.  So as you can tell, even though the five year, $100K goal was met, the campaign is far from over.  I will continue to traverse the country in an effort to save lives, educate women and men about signs and symptoms and raise much needed funds to help find a method of early detection. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alas, the Video

Triathlete faces toughest battle of her life | Verizon FiOS1 News - Long Island

More Good Press

The campaign got some great attention at the beginning of spring from Verizon FioS1 News. It recently aired and made a good impact. Several women contacted me about ovarian cancer with questions and comments. That's what it's all about... Spreading the message.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Survivors Teaching Students

I have been very fortunate to be able to participate in a program called Survivors Teaching Students; Saving Women's Lives sponsored by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.   In hundreds of medical schools around the country, survivors enter the classroom and speak to med students during their 3rd year.  It is shown to be most effective then because at that point in their education they are hungry for real-life stories and case histories.  If something I say saves ONE LIFE, it is worth it.  I participate as often as I can and always love the experience.  It's all about spreading the message.


Monday, May 5, 2014

But Wait, There's More

When the competitive part of the campaign ended last November, I thought I might sit idle and need a new goal.  Little did I know the campaign would take on a new focus, a new light, a new direction. 
Public speaking has been part of the 50x50x100 from the get-go, but now with the 50 states in the rear mirror, the vocal part of the campaign is at the forefront.
Since the beginning of the year I have been actively speaking to the press and groups in a variety of forums, all in a continued effort to spread the message of early detection for ovarian cancer. 
Most recently a piece aired on FiOS1.  Titled "Heroes On Our Island", the campaign was highlighted.  While I'm not comfortable with the title, it was a great opportunity to get the word out.  Click here to see the interview or go to the Video Section of this blog.
On to the political level.  A couple of weeks ago, I learned my campaign was recognized in Nassau County.  Our county executive, Ed Mangano, presented me with the 2014 Woman of Achievement Award.  I had no idea I was nominated and it was really quite an honor. While receiving the award, Mr. Mangano leaned over to me and asked if I had really completed 50 triathlons.  It was really funny.  You can't make this stuff up.
So as you can see, the campaign isn't over yet.  Stay tuned...more to come.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Partner in Science

OCRF asked me to participate in their Partners in Science program, as a thank you for my campaign and efforts over the last five years.  That means I got to view several research projects and decide to whom the $107,000 I raised should go.  Now I don't profess to know a thing about science (some may recall my mathematics background) but they were fantastic to read.  I understood more than I thought; luckily OCRF put it into a nice summary for me.  It was unclear how I would chose.  After all, what was my criteria?  It was completely up to me.  Seven projects were offered and I hoped that one would "speak" to me.  I read them and reread them and then read them again.  I waited a few days and read them again, this time omitting a few.  Finally there were three candidates left and I read each project summary two more times. 
Finally I chose Dr. Matthias Stephan's project.  He is based out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.  As I hoped, his work "spoke" to me.   My mother read his summary as well and liked his face and also his name.  My step-father's name is Matthias.  But that's not really why I chose him.  It was his work... and two lines of his project summary in particular.
  • We propose to create an injectable reagent that can quickly reprogram the patient’s immune cells (particularly T lymphocytes) to recognize and destroy ovarian tumors.
  • In contrast to standard chemoradiation therapies, nanoparticle-mediated targeting can direct T cells to selectively destroy only ovarian cancer cells, without damaging healthy tissue or producing toxic side effects.
This just made sense to me and gives me a lot of hope.  Remembering my own treatment and how awful the side effects were, the thought of target therapy with minimal to no side effects makes me almost giddy.  A big WOOT! to Dr. Stephan for coming up with the idea and another round of WOOT! to the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF for recognizing and choosing him. I am thrilled to be a small part of it. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grand Finale

I've been posting my list of highlights and lowlights of the last five years.  It's been fun to re-live each state and recall what made it special.  There was no ONE favorite state or best race; they were all incredible in their own way.  I could probably add another 50 or so facts and tidbits about the journey but it somehow feels like it has come to an end.  But here's some exciting news...
OCRF asked me to be a Partner in Science.  As a donor, I am able to select an OCRF Scientific Advisory Committee approved scientist to receive the $107,115 raised by my 50x50x100 campaign.  I am in the process of reading summaries of research and choosing a candidate.  For a geek like me, it is a dream come true.  I will get to see first-hand where your money is going and how it is impacting science and study and ovarian cancer research.  How cool is that?  And what a great way to put the "icing on the cake" of this campaign!
Thanks to everyone for following me along this journey, supporting my efforts, cheering me on, donating even in tough economic times and always believing that I could accomplish this. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The List Continues

LEAST AMOUNT OF RACERS: North Dakota.  Shortly before the race in North Dakota, there was terrible flooding that almost cancelled the event completely.  Many homes were destroyed and people were displaced.  The venue had to change but the race director was determined to proceed.  Six people competed in the Olympic distance event.  By far the smallest race I have ever been part of.
BEST MUSIC: Virginia.  Luray Triathlon wins here.  Rocking tunes to help me cross the finish line and as a side note, peanut butter and jelly for a post-race snack.  Nice touch.
BEST POST RACE FOOD: Alabama. Even though the pb&j in Virginia was fun, the hot, spicy Jumbalaya in Alabama not only filled my stomach but it warmed my soul.  Yum!
FLATTEST COURSE:  Georgia.  Jekyll Island is a barrier island and flat as a pancake.  I didn't like it as much as you would think because I rely on the hills to gain speed. Flats aren't my thing.  There wasn't much shifting or variation in position with the terrain being the same, so after a while it was kind of boring too.  Beautiful but not my cup of tea.
LONGEST LINGERING EFFECTS OF A RACE: Louisiana.  Swamp rot as diagnosed by my dermatologist. Brought on by infectious waters. Contagious, fast spreading. Totally gross. Lasted two weeks post race.
LATEST RACE START: Nevada.  Called the Showdown at Sundown, this Las Vegas event went off at 4 pm.  It totally messed with my head, as I didn't know how to eat that day.  Around noon my mom suggested I take a nap and start the day all over again. I did just that and had my morning oatmeal at 1:30 pm.  It was unique, beautiful and a nice change.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some Quirky Facts

These don't go under the heading of the least, most, best or worst because they are one-of-a-kind (or almost) incidences.  Call them quirky little facts from along the journey.
STATES DONE BACK TO BACK IN SAME WEEKEND: New Jersey and Maryland....and....Delaware and Virginia.  I know, I'm nuts!
DIFFICULT T1: Maine.  T1 is the transition time from the swim to the bike.  The race in Maine was particularly tricky because I got my timing chip stuck and couldn't get my wetsuit off.  Coupled with a calf cramp and it made for one of my slowest T1s to date.
ONLY PLACE I WANTED A T-SHIRT FROM: Arkansas and a little town called, Toad Suck.  Yep, that's right. And believe it or not, I had to hunt for a shirt with the town name on it.  When I asked a local where I could find one, he looked at me like I was crazy.  Really?  They don't sell them on every corner with a town name like that?  I finally found one at the Harley dealer.
SMALLEST RACE AND BIGGEST HEART: Wisconsin.  The folks of Portage were some of the loveliest I have met.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Greetings

With the holiday season behind me, I find myself gearing up and planning my race calendar for 2014.  You may recall a secondary goal of the 50x50x100 campaign was to finish "relatively" uninjured and still in love with the sport.  Check and double check!
Continuing on with the awards....
MOST LOCAL SUPPORT: Iowa.  Residents of the Holiday Lake Community travel by golf cart.  They all came out to the parking grounds and transported us and our gear to the transition areas and then did the same on the return after the race.  Nice touch.  Especially since the race and transition area was up at the top of a dam.
BEST POST-RACE GIVEAWAYS: Vermont.  The race director must be pretty connected.  He had so much gear to give away and an endless amount of raffles.  Mixed into the award ceremony, the raffles were plentiful and substantial...helmuts, wetsuits, sunglasses, wheels.... it lasted for over 2 hours.
MOST SIGNIFICANT RACE HISTORY: California.  Back to where it all started, I raced in San Diego on Fiesta Island.  History says this was the birthplace of triathlon and it felt very special to race where is all began, less than 40 years ago. 
MOST ROAD KILL: Missouri.  Not much to say about that except gross!