Partner Member Profile: Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego

Ovarian cancer survivor Peg Ford first heard about our Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives® (STS) program while searching for a support group in her hometown of San Diego, California. At the time, there was no local group doing work on ovarian cancer. Peg was inspired by what she learned about STS and said, “That’s what I can do!” She began putting her time and energy into developing this program in San Diego County.

As her interest in ovarian cancer advocacy and education grew, Peg developed and launched a local Partner Member organization with Kathy Hagan, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer. Today, the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego has three areas of focus: STS, cancer research, and advocacy and policy. As Peg notes: “I only have so much time and energy,” so she focuses on areas that are of greatest interest to her and beneficial to women with ovarian cancer.

In the past year, the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego has coordinated and facilitated 27 STS presentations, reaching 672 people. Survivors share their stories in nursing and medical schools throughout the San Diego area. The group is about to launch a similar program called “HEAR (Hope, Experiences, Awareness & Risks) ~ If Only I Knew Then, What I Know Now” that will help survivors share information about ovarian cancer with local civic and community groups.

Peg first learned about research advocacy, another focus of her Partner Member, at an Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Annual Conference. “I heard about the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, applied and was accepted as a consumer peer reviewer,” she recalls. “That really led to my understanding of the importance of research.” Today she serves as a patient advocate with numerous organizations, and writes a regular column about patient advocacy, “Through the Eyes of an Advocate,” for The Oncology Nurse magazine.

Becoming a Partner Member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance was a natural fit for Peg. “I had established such roots with the Alliance,” she says. “They were the only organization I have been involved with from the beginning in 2008. The Alliance has been very supportive of my efforts, which I appreciate very much.”

Next steps for the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego includes building a website, which is expected to launch in the summer of 2013, and securing official nonprofit status.

For more information about the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego, call (619) 437-8438 or email pegford2@hotmail.com.