When her ovarian cancer recurred in 2010, Jean Ebert sought treatment in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She soon connected with another woman who had been diagnosed around the same time—2008—with the same stage of ovarian cancer. Jean and Charlotte quickly formed a connection. “She wanted to do something and I wanted to do something,” recalls Jean. “We had the means to eat well and spend time restoring ourselves, but there were so many women who had many more things on their plates than just dealing with ovarian cancer.”
That desire to “do something” led Charlotte and Jean to start a nonprofit called No to O. “That saying just popped into my mind,” says Jean. After researching their options, Charlotte and Jean formed a nonprofit and hired two event planners to help start their fundraising efforts.
The first fundraiser they organized was called “Flock the Yard.” Donors “sponsored” a plastic flamingo that was placed in a prominent location for others to see. No to O wanted the flamingos to be teal—not pink!—and they were able to find one woman selling teal plastic flamingos. “We ordered all the birds that this woman had—657 teal flamingos!” says Jean. Flock the Yard has now become an annual event with individuals and companies “adopting” a teal flamingo each year.
The funds that No to O raises have allowed them to help many women with ovarian cancer in North Carolina. Working through a cancer services program in the area, the group helps fund items like transportation or food cards for women with ovarian cancer. They are currently working with a nutritionist to begin offering a meal pack and simple recipes for women who are undergoing chemotherapy. Jean notes: “I was very much interested in nutrition.” The aim of that program is to make it easier for cancer patients to eat nutritious meals while they are in treatment.
Through a contact at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Jean was put in touch with a local organization assisting women with breast cancer called 1in9. The two groups are now collaborating to provide similar financial assistance and support to gynecologic cancer patients at the UNC Hospital. “We just wanted to help women at a local level and do something for them,” says Jean. “We’re doing what we can to help women.”
Though Charlotte passed away in 2013, her desire to help others lives on through No to O. She “got the ball rolling” for the organization to become a Partner Member and part of the Alliance’s global network. In 2012, Jean and her husband attended the Ovarian Cancer National Conference and “just loved it.” In the coming years, Jean hopes to expand No to O and increase awareness of the organization and of ovarian cancer.