Ovarian Cancer Survivor Raises Awareness and Funds with Three Triathlons

Ovarian cancer survivor Dorothy Erlanger is raising money for ovarian cancer by competing in three triathlons this year. In a guest blog post, she shares with us her reasons for supporting the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Early this year, I realized I had an amazing opportunity to raise funds and awareness for ovarian cancer. I was turning 60 and celebrating 10 years cancer free and thriving. There was one additional factor—I had three major potential triathlon events this year, including two world championship level races that I had qualified for in 2010. This became my ‘Triathlon Trifecta’—check out the details at www.TriathlonTrifecta.org. I’m now just one month from my very first Ironman Triathlon—yikes! You’ll find comments on training and prep races at www.triathlonTrifecta.org/blog

The next important step was to decide who would be the beneficiaries of the fundraising. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance became my first and very clear choice. I think of the Alliance as my Triple A group. What is that about?

ADVOCACY The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is in the front line of advocacy in gaining and sustaining support for funding for ovarian cancer. This is critically important for us, as ovarian cancer doesn’t have a huge base of survivors like breast cancer. The advocacy isn’t just with Congress; it extends to wherever there are opportunities for funding, or threats to continuation. Within the ovarian cancer community, we rely on the Alliance to be our eyes and ears, alerting us to important news.

AWARENESS, particularly of risks and symptoms. When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 3c 10 years ago, there was no consensus on symptoms; this was considered the ‘silent’ disease. Today, we have knowledge of common symptoms and risk factors, but MUST get the word out to women and doctors. The Alliance is in the front line of this work, both with advocacy speakers and the Survivors Teaching Students® program for health care providers.

ACTIVE SUPPORT I already knew about the Alliance’s great annual conference—I went to one the year after my treatment and came away incredibly motivated, excited and upbeat. What I wasn’t aware of until recently was Inspire, an online community that is the most amazingly responsive and caring forum I have ever come across.

There is one additional consideration which is important for anyone considering donations; the Charity Navigator rating, looking at the effectiveness of charitable organizations. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has an outstanding four star rating here, the top of the scale.

The icing on the cake? When I contacted Alliance staff, they were supportive, enthusiastic, open to my (rather unconventional) approach and willing to help spread the word. My thanks to all!

Follow Dorothy’s progress on her blog: www.triathlonTrifecta.org/blog