MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s known as a “bad cancer” and there is a network of women trying to change that. Ovarian Cancer is the fifth deadliest cancer to women.
Now, Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) is fighting that reputation.
The group was started by a small group of survivors. WCCO spoke with a survivor who is fresh off of chemo and showing no signs of weakness.
Believe it or not, the gym is Pam MacDonald’s happy place. Two hours, each day, that’s her usual regimen.
“There’s a lot of positive energy at the gym, you don’t usually see negative,” she said.
You certainly don’t see bad energy from 62-year-old MacDonald, even though the past decade has been tough.
“I went to one doctor saying, ‘Do I have a hernia?’ Anyway, three doctors missed me. I’ll just tell you and this is very common with ovarian cancer,” she said.
After finally being diagnosed Stage 3, she heard the stats, ovarian cancer has less than a 50 percent survival rate over 5 years. So, when times got tough, she got going even harder than before.
“It helped, the endorphins, the positive energy, I think positive. It helped me. I don’t know. It did,” she said.
MacDonald says the exercise is what kept her body in motion, fighting hard. She also started fighting to support MOCA, which is a group her nurse told her about. It’s a group who introduced her to people who understand pain.
“So when I thought of doing something positive for MOCA to raise money, the first thing I thought of was cycling because I felt it helped me get through my treatments,” she said.
She started “Spin it Teal”, a day honoring the color of ovarian cancer, and the spirit of those who battle. Last year, her event put a $50,000 research grant at Mayo into motion.
“I work hard on the fundraising because we need some treatment that is durable,” she said.
As for her treatment, she finished her most recent round of chemo in October.
“I’m cancer-free for the fourth time,” she said. “My hope hasn’t been taken away from me and I don’t want it taken away from anyone else either, that’s why we do this.”
On Wednesday, Pam answered phones for us. She would love to take your call a way to help try and make sure this disease has more survivors.
You can call to donate or go to MOCA website to donate.