MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO has been going teal all week. It’s the color for ovarian cancer awareness, a cancer that affects 1 in 72 women, and it’s a cancer that kills more than half of those women within five years of diagnosis.

WCCO’s “Trees of Hope” is shining a light on an organization that can help. The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance or “MOCA” supports research and women living with the disease. MOCA is a major force in finding an early detection test.

John and Kitty met in 2011 when they started chatting at a local happy hour. They quickly decided to take the next step.

“We made some plans to go running that week, that was our first couple of dates,” Kitty said.

But their love story is not the only one this story is about — John and Laura’s came years before. They had Michael at 39. When Laura was 44, her stomach started swelling and she wasn’t pregnant. It was ovarian cancer and three years later, she passed away.

“In her obituary, we referred to it as a very defiant battle against ovarian cancer,” John said.

In the battle, he said MOCA was their ally, pairing them up with a survivor who explained what life with cancer and without hair was like.

“So all the sudden it wasn’t so scary and they gave us hope,” John said. “What price can you put on that?”

Five years after losing Laura, John found Kitty, a yoga studio owner. She understood the heaviness of loss.

“I lost my father as a child, and my brother recently lost his wife to cancer and it’s just something I’ve grown up with – it being part of life,” Kitty said.

She also understood the importance of MOCA, opening up her studio to host events — and event after event they’ve become MOCA superstars. When most second wives may try to forget about the first, Kitty is helping remember Laura.

“The best way to honor him is to remember me, and that’s been really important to me,” Kitty said.

John and Kitty will marry in August, a love story in the present that’s rooted in respect for the past.

Kitty and John are asking their wedding guests not to bring gifts, but to donate to MOCA. If you’d like to give this couple a wedding gift in a MOCA donation, they will gladly take your phone call at 800-542-9226, or donate online here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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