The first event that Joan, Kelli and Sandi started was Comedy for a Cause, an ode to Joan’s great sense of humor. Now in its 14th year, Comedy for a Cause has evolved from a causal family event to a more adult comedy show, complete with dinner and dancing. Each year hundreds of people come out for entertainment and to bid on items in the silent auction to help raise money to fight ovarian cancer.
On the last Sunday in April each year, the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance hosts a very special brunch at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee for ovarian cancer survivors. Over 100 survivors, along with family and friends, gather together and are able to bond with other survivors sharing similar experiences.
The Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance also supports survivors by giving out comfort totes—tote bags filled with different items for ovarian cancer patients, like a journal, lip balm, and a stuffed animal. Also inside the totes is a card with WOCA’s information, as well as information on the Alliance’s Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives® program. These totes are distributed to women with ovarian cancer through clinics around the state. Sandi and Kelli estimate that in the 10 years that this program has been going on, they’ve been able to distribute over 1,000 bags to ovarian cancer patients all throughout Wisconsin.
In addition to supporting survivors with these many programs, the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance also works to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, especially in September during National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Their largest event held each year is WOCA’s Nancys Run, Rock and Stroll, with more than 1000 attendees. Now in its 10th year, this annual outreach event will take place on September 19th. At the event 800 teal eco-friendly balloons will be released in honor and in memory of ovarian cancer survivors.
Friday, September 4th is National Wear Teal Day and WOCA has coordinated to get many Milwaukee landmarks lit up teal for this special day, including the U.S. Bank Tower, Wisconsin’s tallest building, and the busy Marquette Interchange. Mitchell Park Domes will light up teal beginning September 1, and remain lit up for 25 days. In the five days leading up to September 1, there were multiple digital billboards throughout the state that counted down each day to the Real Teal and the official start of ovarian cancer awareness month.
The Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance are active participants in the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives ® Program (STS) , facilitated through the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, which brings ovarian cancer survivors into medical, nursing, and PA classrooms, where they present their unique stories along with facts about the disease to educate the future healthcare providers. They are able to educate 500 students in Wisconsin each year through the program! In addition to the STS program, Kelli and Sandi say the partnership between WOCA and the Alliance allows them to be a “part of the bigger picture” through advocacy work and research funding through the Ovarian Cancer Dream Team.
In the 15 years since the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance was founded, the organization has reached thousands upon thousands of women with information about ovarian cancer, educated both the local and medical community about the disease, and provided support for survivors in their area. Here’s to another amazing 15 years!
Click here to learn more about the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance.