As our community continues to come together to make strides against ovarian cancer, we want to give a shout-out to our many OCRA Heroes who push themselves physically, creatively or in myriad other ways to raise money for research. We’ll be introducing you to many of them in the months to come. First up are Chris Turner and Tanja Murray, two OCRA Heroes who will be going the distance, literally, at separate events this August to garner support for research and awareness about this disease.
Chris Turner, Denver, CO
Event: Sheep Mountain 50-Mile held by the Human Potential Running Series
“Push through the pain, and keep looking forward,” is the mantra that keeps Chris Turner moving.
This OCRA Hero began long-distance running in 2016 and eventually upped his efforts to multiple marathons in a single weekend. His motivation? His mother, Carla Fay Turner, who had been living with ovarian cancer for 16 years by that point. Diagnosed when Chris was just 10, Carla underwent countless chemotherapy and radiation appointments. “Her valiant courage was my beacon of strength in enduring these voluntary challenges,” says Chris, who dedicated the runs to his mom just weeks before her death on May 23, 2018. After years of treatments and recurrences, Carla decided to live on her own terms and opted out of radiation months before her death.
Carla still serves as the inspiration behind the many miles that Chris logs. He will be participating in his first-ever ultramarathon on Saturday, August 7, and vows that it will not be his last. “With all your help and support, I will continue signing up for these crazy endurance races until ovarian cancer is a household name for national fundraising, and the message of strength and hope is at the forefront of all women’s minds who are currently battling this disease.” Chris has a running goal of 50 miles and has been training for weeks. He will be tackling this mountainous race terrain in Fairplay, CO, to raise money for ovarian cancer research in memory of his mother and in honor of all those living with the disease now or in the future.
“If you know someone who may be going through ovarian cancer treatments, tell them they are not alone and will never be forgotten. Be the strength for them,” Chris says.
You can donate to his fundraiser below, and to follow along with Chris’ training updates and see his enthusiasm in action, check out his YouTube channel.
Tanja Murray, La Grange Park, IL
Event: Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie Triathlon
“When I heard the statistics about ovarian cancer, it angered me and made me cry,” says Tanja Murray.
The information came to her attention when she participated in her first triathlon in 2011—an event that benefitted ovarian cancer research via an organization that would later become OCRA. The data hit her hard because a dear childhood friend, Jenn Johnson, had died a year or so before at the age of 36 from this disease. And back when Tanja had learned her friend had ovarian cancer, she was unaware of those grim statistics. “I thought she’d be okay. Well, I was totally wrong. I had no idea how bad ovarian cancer is,” Tanja says.
Having initially signed up for the triathlon as a way to get back in shape, Tanja decided she would register the next year as a way to raise money and awareness for the cause. A decade later and this OCRA Hero is still at it, this time training for the Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, WI, on August 15. The event includes a half-mile swim, an 11-mile bike ride and a 5K run—and supports OCRA as its charitable benefactor. Tanja has put together Team Jenn and would love more people to participate in this women’s triathlon with her. “What’s great about this one in Wisconsin is you see women of all shapes and sizes,” says Tanja, who describes her first triathlon training as going from “couch potato to 5K.”
Adds Tanja, “Hearing those horrible statistics is what motivated me to do it ever since.”
We hope these stories inspire you to go the extra mile and become an OCRA Hero. After all, what better feeling than turning a favorite hobby into a fundraiser for ovarian cancer research? To learn how to get started, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re excited to hear your story and help you make a difference!