The Overview | January 2022
Happy new year! While the temperatures may be chilly for many of us, we hope everyone is keeping warm with renewed hope for a year of progress toward our mission, and a strong sense of community. Only three weeks into 2022, and we already have a lot to share. So, without further ado …
- We’re thrilled to announce that OCRA has awarded nearly $6.5 million in new grants to 22 researchers at 15 prestigious medical institutions. They will continue to build on our collective knowledge and identify new opportunities for ovarian cancer prevention and treatment. We will share news over the coming weeks and months of their progress, but in the meantime, you can learn more about them and their projects here.
- Now that you’ve met our new grantees, can you take a moment to send a quick note of encouragement and gratitude? Science can be lonely work, so we want to let our researchers know how much they matter to us and remind them of the impact they have on our lives.
- And if you haven’t had a chance to read these short profiles of some of our 2021 grantees, here’s a chance to discover (in lay terms) a bit more about their projects, what motivates them, and what drew them to research in the first place.
- Speaking of research, two studies came out recently that show progress in treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer: the first showed that patients with an ovarian cancer recurrence who undergo cytoreductive debulking surgery along with chemotherapy show better survival rates than those who only receive chemotherapy.
- The second study, funded by OCRA, focuses on findings that not only reveal where the most common ovarian cancer subtype originates in certain patients, but also point to the future possibility of being able to predict who will get the disease.
- Finally, we can’t let this month pass without acknowledging two scientists who have received OCRA researcher awards! Dr. Marion Curtis of Mayo Clinic (and a former OCRA grantee) has won The Schreiber Research Prize for Outstanding Mentored Investigators, and Dr. Kathleen Cho from University of Michigan has won The Rosalind Franklin Prize. Learn more about the prizes, and the work of these scientists.
- The 2022 cohort of Advocate Leaders — a group of 112, with 37 new members — met in the early part of January to get a detailed understanding of the legislative landscape and discuss policy priorities for the upcoming year. We are incredibly grateful for this hardworking group of medical professionals, survivors and loved ones, and all they do to lend their voice to the betterment of the entire ovarian cancer community.
- Mark your calendars for our 2022 Spring Advocacy Day! It will take place – virtually – on March 7th and 8th, and it’s open to anyone who wants to: learn more about how OCRA engages with policymakers, get trained on speaking up about the issues that matter most to our community, and hold meetings with elected officials. OCRA’s Advocate Leaders program is supported by grants from AstraZeneca, Genentech and GSK.
- Want to share your voice in a non-political way? Survivors Teaching Students (STS) needs you! STS educates the medical professionals of tomorrow by sending volunteers into the classrooms (in person and online) to share stories and crucial messages about risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of ovarian cancer. Learn how you can get involved.
- Curing this disease requires collaboration on all fronts, including working with partners in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and diagnostic industries to advance the science, enhance clinical research and ensure patient-centric development of effective treatments. So one year ago, OCRA convened a roundtable of stakeholders spanning clinicians, researchers, patient advocates, industry representatives and federal regulators. Learn more about the Ovarian Cancer Industry Council, including topics discussed and shared goals.
Patient Support & Programs
- OCRA is pleased to offer a growing number of Staying Connected online support sessions. Five unique weekly groups cater to different stages, ages and relationships to the disease, and there are four monthly groups focusing on various familial connections, mindfulness and movement, and expressive arts. From sessions on living well, dealing with a new diagnosis, giving voice to grief, the needs of young adults, support for partners and spouses, and keeping hope as the disease progresses, there’s something for everyone. And we’re adding a program for bereaved adult children and one that offers self-care. Learn more and register for this free program. Staying Connected is supported by grants from AstraZeneca, Gail Baird Foundation, Merck and GSK.
- Acupuncture can be one way to deal with the pain caused by ovarian cancer. Learn more about how it works, the pros and cons, and how it may help alleviate a range of symptoms experienced by those with cancer.
- The Cancer Support Community wants to hear from those who have been directly impacted by ovarian cancer. Share your insights to make a difference. Visit CancerSupportCommunity.org/Registry to learn more.
- Got 23 minutes? We will be kicking off our #23forHope Challenge next month (on February 23rd, of course!). We’ll be asking everyone to do 23 minutes of an activity (walking, biking, yoga, hula hoop…), challenging 23 of their friends to do the same, and donating 23 dollars to OCRA. This is to raise awareness of the fact that every 23 minutes, someone new is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more importantly, to raise critical funds for research so that we can change these statistics.
- With Omicron cases spreading across the country, it may come as a disappointment but not a surprise that we have decided, once again, to host this year’s Uniting for Hope Ovarian Cancer National Conferencevirtually. While we’d love to gather in person, we must look out for the safety and wellbeing of our entire community. And what the past two years have shown us all is that not only can we deliver engaging sessions and expert presenters through a virtual format, but we are able to reach far more people, sharing vital information farther and wider than ever before. We know it’s only January, but go ahead and mark your calendars for September 21-23 … and stay tuned!
- Want to be a hero? Join or start an Ovarian Cycle ride in your community or host an event to support OCRA. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
Ways to Give
- No matter your age or wealth, estate planning is an act of responsibility that protects your loved ones and can even help future generations – especially if you include OCRA in those plans. OCRA has partnered with FreeWill, a free online resource that guides you through the process of creating a legally valid will … and allows you to help build a brighter world for those facing ovarian cancer. It only takes about 20 minutes, but the impact is forever.