Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Where Do I Start?
Maybe you’re a survivor or you are a family member or friend of a survivor and you want to become more involved with ovarian cancer awareness, but you’re just not sure where to start. It can feel overwhelming trying to narrow down the focus or find what’s the right thing for you...better said, where you can make the most impact for something that is so important to you.
Share your story in a way that works for you
For me, sharing my story started as a way for me to announce I was sick and keep everyone up to date...that’s all I had intended it to be. It would mean I didn’t have as many questions to answer all the time (hopefully) and those around me knew what was going on and I was able to get a lot that was going on in my mind out on paper.
What I didn’t realize is that it would lead to ovarian cancer advocacy and awareness not only in the community in which I live but nationally.
Three steps to becoming an ovarian cancer adovcate
If you feel advocating and/or creating awareness around ovarian cancer is something you are not only wanting to jump into with two feet but are ready to do as well, here are a couple of steps that may help in finding your passion calling:
1) In your own community
If you are fortunate enough to live in or around a larger city, chances are there may be an ovarian cancer not-for-profit that you can reach out to. Being on a board of a local organization in St. Louis we are always looking for volunteers and host several events throughout the year where survivors and their friends/families can attend.
Start by doing some research, see if what you’re looking for aligns with their mission. If it does, maybe reach out to them directly – this could be to their executive director or community development personnel to let them know you’d like to be more involved and were wondering what opportunities might be available where you could do so.
2) Share your story
I know what you’re thinking – okay, this just isn’t for me...it’s time-consuming to keep up a social media page, etc. Some may choose to go down this route and taking a certain amount of days a month to share signs/symptoms/facts about ovarian cancer on their platform to create awareness. But sharing your story doesn’t mean you have to have a social media account with thousands of followers, there are other ways you can do this.
OCRA has a Survivors Teaching Students program where you share your story with those going into the medical field so they become more familiar with not only ovarian cancer, but the various ways in which it may prevent itself, and that it can happen to anyone. Any stage or age survivor can participate and there are places all over the United States where you can get involved.
3) Participate in a walk
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to start is participating in an annual walk put on by an organization benefitting ovarian cancer. All it takes is registering, showing up, and getting a few steps in, which is a health benefit to everyone. Share with your friends and family why you are participating. It’s a soft introduction to an organization and it may become an annual event for you to participate in that allows you to help with fundraising efforts for advocacy and awareness campaigns.
It's about finding your voice
Hopefully, these three tips give you a start in the right direction – remember to start small and ramp up your involvement if a) you want to and b) you really find your niche!
And if you’re reading this thinking I don’t do anything or I don’t do enough – that’s not the reason behind this post – everyone does what they are comfortable with. Participating in awareness and advocacy efforts isn’t for every ovarian cancer survivor out there, and that is okay. You to do!
If you have other ideas on ways to become involved and how you can start, we’d love to hear them! Tell us in the comments how you spread ovarian cancer awareness.
What stage were you diagnosed with?