MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Now through Christmas, WCCO is shining a light on Minnesota groups who could use your help to make the season brighter.

It’s our “Trees of Hope” campaign.

To kick off the campaign, WCCO is decked out in teal to support MOCA – the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

Ovarian cancer hits 1 in 72 women and only 50 percent of those diagnosed survive for five years or more. But a small home-grown organization is doing big things to change those numbers.

Teal is the color that trademarks their cause. In a world of pink ribbons, they want you to see theirs too.

“We are able to do much more, both for the women in the state living with ovarian cancer now as well as funding to change the future of ovarian cancer,” Kathleen Gavin, the executive Director of MOCA, said.

Gavin said it takes some serious work to keep MOCA going. Many of their supporters don’t have a voice for long.

“We’re not left with as many survivors as, say, breast cancer is or prostate cancer. So, we need people who care about people with ovarian cancer to continue to stay involved,” Gavin said.

Pam McDonald is a survivor. She started a spin event to raise grant money for MOCA.

“It helped, the endorphins, the positive energy. I think positive. It helped me,” McDonald said.

The event raised $50,000 which heled pay for a research grant. Gavin said that’s what this group is all about.

“MOCA’s been involved in the national research scene through the Stand Up to Cancer grant. We also were able to award more research funding than ever before. We gave out $660,000 last May to researchers in Minnesota,” Gavin said.

The reason those dollars are so precious is ovarian cancer is incredibly hard to detect. Symptoms are mild, like frequent urination, and it’s often not diagnosed until stage 3 or 4.

“If we have an early detection test that can be applied to all women and can detect ovarian cancer early, women will survive,” Gavin said.

So MOCA is funding research, like the kind that’s going on in one U of M lab.

It’s fantastic. They’ve actually become quite a force in terms of education, advocacy and raising money for research,” Reuben Harris, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, said.

A force that gets creative in sharing their teal and raising some green.

“We know that people who give to us want the same things that we want, which is an early detection test, better treatments and a cure,” Gavin said.

If you’d like to learn more about the group, visit Accomplish MN online or MOCA online.

To donate to MOCA, click here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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