Teal Diva’s origins lie in a common need of those affected by ovarian cancer: support. When Shannon Routh was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, she also discovered that she would be unable to have children, despite her young age. For Shannon this made relating with other survivors difficult, as many of the survivors she knew already had children. In her efforts to connect with other young survivors of ovarian and other gynecological cancers, Shannon felt, “maybe this was something I was meant to create,” and Teal Diva was born.
Focused primarily on establishing a support network of survivors, Teal Diva connects survivors while providing them with resources to continue their lives even after treatment. As Shannon puts it, “when you’re released from treatment that has consumed your life, you are put back into your life and expected to go on as you did before, and you’re a changed person.” In response to this, Teal Diva’s signature Luncheon lets survivors “embrace our sisterhood outside of a hospital or support group.” At the luncheon any survivor of ovarian or gynecological cancer are treated to a three course gourmet lunch at no cost to them. Teal Diva also hosts an annual retreat for twelve survivors of gynecological cancer who are selected from a pool of nominees. The twelve women are treated to a long weekend retreat of pampering, celebrating and bonding that is completely paid for.
More recently Teal Diva has worked to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, and to raise funds to be put towards creating effective screening tests for ovarian cancer. One of their main community events is the Teal Masquerade, which allows survivors and members of the community to come together and learn about ovarian cancer by “unmasking a silent killer among women.” Beyond their own events, Teal Diva works with sororities and nearby universities, giving speeches that inform women about the signs of ovarian cancer and the resources available to those that have been touched by it. In addition to raising awareness, Teal Diva raises funds for research. Through their events, such as the Teal Masquerade, Teal Diva contributes to research efforts and the development of better detection measures, as currently there is no single test to effectively detect ovarian cancer. By increasing community awareness of ovarian cancer, Teal Diva plans to get the community involved in supporting survivors and efforts to end ovarian cancer.
Through its partner membership with the Alliance, Teal Diva has learned ways of reaching out to local politicians and lawmakers to increase support for survivors and for researchers. They also enjoy being connected with other organizations that are Partner Members; as Shannon says “they have opened a door to other Partner Members to get together and share ideas when there isn’t necessarily a conference or other event.” Teal Diva greatly values the insight to developments in research and screening methods, provided by the Alliance, as they continue to educate women touched by ovarian cancer.