When Diane Riche’s mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, Diane turned to the internet for information. Through her research she came to the Alliance’s website, where she learned that ovarian cancer does in fact have symptoms. Diane recalls thinking: “What do you mean ‘Know the symptoms’? There are no symptoms for ovarian cancer!” But after learning what the symptoms were, she quickly began to see them in her mother over the previous months. Diane realized that not having that knowledge beforehand clearly contributed to her mother’s stage IV diagnosis and death just five weeks later. So her next step was clear: “We have to make sure women know this information so this doesn’t happen to them.” With the goal of educating women about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, Diane founded Ovarian Cancer 101.
As a grassroots organization, Ovarian Cancer 101 utilizes community efforts such as tabling at grocery stores, local events and schools. It also is very active in the Alliance’s Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives® program, with Diane also serving as the New England Regional Coordinator. Through STS®, Ovarian Cancer 101 sends local speakers to Tufts University in Boston, the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine in Farmington, CT, and the Dempsey Center For Hope and Healing in Lewiston, ME. Ovarian Cancer 101 recently launched two projects to improve the lives of survivors in the Cape Cod area: a support group for survivors and distributing “Bags of Hope & Comfort”. This program provides women undergoing chemotherapy with items to ease their treatment, as well as information about the resources available to them. “We give the bags to women in our community to make the chemo easier and more comfortable and to let them know that they aren’t alone,” says Diane.
Each year Ovarian Cancer 101 hosts the “Live Like Renee 5K”, named after Renee Pelletier Costa, a close friend of Diane Riche. Renee passed away last year from ovarian cancer after a 20 year battle with the disease. At this signature event, participants learn about ovarian cancer while truly living like Renee. As Diane puts it, “It was created as a legacy for her family, something for her family to hold onto after she was gone. The walk is a very special event.” In addition to this fundraiser, Ovarian Cancer 101 hosts the “Birdies for Ovarian Cancer”, an annual charity golf tournament. Through its fundraising efforts, Ovarian Cancer 101 has been able to provide support to survivors, while informing women and the community about ovarian cancer.
Having so many goals in line with the Alliance, becoming a Partner Member was the next logical step for Ovarian Cancer 101. Diane says, “I felt the Alliance really was the best all-around organization, covering the disease from every angle.” As a Partner Member, Ovarian Cancer 101 can keep a pulse on upcoming research and developments in treatment for ovarian cancer. According to Diane, “We felt they were a really good fit for us, because our key goal is in awareness and education. By partnering with the Alliance we could be involved with everything that needs to come together to make a change with ovarian cancer.”