Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Hosts 15th Annual Conference: Poised for Progress

Pamela Faerber

Founding Mother Pamela Faerber addresses the 2012 conference. Photo by Pam Risdon

Once again, our Annual Conference left participants inspired, educated and engaged!

This year, we kicked off the meeting with a pre-conference workshop on clinical trials. The session was standing room only, as 120 participants heard from leading researchers, then broke into small groups to discuss what they had learned. The Alliance’s 61 Partner Members also met for a pre-conference summit, where they learned from one another’s successful programs.

On Sunday, Board President Terri McKnight opened the conference, followed by a look back at our first 15 years from Founding Mother and former Board President Pat Goldman. Pat recalled the early meetings in DC and Indianapolis that led to the formation of the Alliance in 1997—and shared some humorous memories of her fellow founders!

Educational sessions on Sunday included a look at progress in ovarian cancer research from Dr. Robert Burger, a session on clinical trials by Dr. Ronald Alvarez and this year’s Mello-Abrams Lectureship, in which Dr. Robert Coleman talked about the link between endometriosis and ovarian cancer. A panel of experts delved into the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. Breakout sessions gave participants a chance to explore end of life care, nutrition and genetics. Conference attendees got their blood flowing between sessions with gentle tai chi exercises led by survivor Angella Hamilton.

We celebrated all women with ovarian cancer at the Honoring the Journey ceremony on Sunday evening, and distributed packets of forget-me-not seeds to plant as part of the Alliance’s Garden of Hope. Sunday closed on a high note, with a night of dancing in celebration of the Alliance’s 15th anniversary.

Monday brought panel discussions on the drug approval process and ways to get involved in research advocacy, as well as breakout sessions on Survivors Teaching Students®, lesbians and ovarian cancer, long term survivors and advocacy.

Our conference ended with two inspiring speakers who are truly poised for progress on ovarian cancer. High school student Jack Andraka got a standing ovation after he presented the results of his innovative paper test for the detection of ovarian cancer. Jack was followed by keynote speaker Olivia Culpo, who talked about how she will speak for ovarian cancer survivors during her reign as Miss USA 2012.

Miss USA joined more than 70 ovarian cancer advocates on Capitol Hill for the Alliance’s annual Advocacy Day. The halls of Congress were filled with teal as our community urged support for ovarian cancer research and awareness, as well as a bill that would ensure cancer patients have adequate coverage for oral chemotherapy drugs.

Mark your calendars for July 13-16, 2013, when we hope to see you in Washington, DC, for our 16th Annual Conference.

Click here to view other photos from our 15th Annual Conference, and to download slides and other materials from our speakers.