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Personal Stories

We'd love to hear your story. Tell us why you participate in run for her®. Your thoughts and words inspire others. Please submit your stories to runforher@cshs.org.

Brittany's Story

My team is Run for Estelle. Estelle was my grandma. She died from ovarian cancer when I was thirteen in 2003. She was absolutely the best grandmother and an amazing woman. She was the type to go to the doctor for any symptom and would insist that her grandchildren do the same. But it took doctors six months to diagnose her ovarian cancer despite many doctors visits. The disease is very difficult to diagnose, but hopefully this run can help change that. My two sisters, mom, aunt, grandpa, boyfriend, and friends will all be walking in her memory this Sunday. Thanks for your contribution in bringing awareness to this great event.
Brittany Gorin

Denise's Story

I danced in honor of RANA SAMUELS, who is currently fighting ovarian cancer, and her mom, Elana Samuels. I work with Elana. Rana has a 3-month old baby at home, and the news of her cancer has been understandably devastating and scary. I think it would mean a lot to the Samuels family to know that there are people offering so much support!
Denise

Natalie's Story

My name is Natalie Mora, and I was diagnosed late February of this year with Stage IV cancer. I am a patient of Cedars-Sinai. My oncologist is Dr. Ronald Leuchter, and I am on the Avistian Trial G0G262 with Dr. Leuchter and Paula Anastasia. My story is amazing since I have progressed to where I am today. With the help of everyone at Cedars-Sinai, including my talented doctor and team, I started working full-time on 9/30/11 and am back at the gym with my personal trainer of 9 years twice a week. I just had a CAT scan a week ago from yesterday and am clean as a whistle. My CA125 started at 450 before my hysterectomy and debulking, and for the last 10 weeks is staying at 7.
Natalie Mora

Corinne Roberts

This is the third year in a row that I will be walking as TEAM NANA with my family and friends in memory of my mom, Corinne Roberts. She died on the first of June, 2009 after a nine month fight with ovarian cancer.

My mother was one of those fabulous women, always vivacious and growing more beautiful with every passing year. Aging did not affect her, she took impeccable care of her health and looked 20 years younger than her true age. She was an avid spinner and never missed a day of her vitamins. But when back pain and stomach pains persisted, she visited her doctors, the internist and the gynecologist both told her to eat more fiber. No one listened to her symptoms until she visited Dr. Beth Moore at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who discovered the stage IIIc ovarian cancer that was causing all of her health issues. This diagnosis was devastating to all of us. The energetic, funny and playful Nana was in for the fight of her life. Chemo and surgery could not stave off the ravages of a cruel disease.

We walk in her memory to raise funds so we can heighten awareness and get the word out about ovarian cancer. More research is needed to find a cure and find a test to diagnose ovarian cancer before it's too late. We miss our Nana every day and the best way to honor her memory and keep her spirit with us is to participate in this yearly walk, raising funds to help find a cure and early diagnostic tests. Thank you to everyone involved!
Vicki Kipper and Team Nana

In Memory of Monica English

Monica was the type of woman that didn't let anything get in her way, a free-spirit running wild. When Monica was diagnosed she was scared, sad and anxious, but she always knew she would survive. That girl had more fight in her than anyone I have ever met in my entire life. She always took the bull by the horns and was determined to beat this beast. I learned strength from her. Monica would always tell me, "It is what it is, and we will be okay."

Monica and I were roommates for the two years she was living with cancer. She actually found out she had Ovarian Cancer the day before we moved into our new apartment. Being 24 years old and finding out your best friend, sister and soon-to-be new roommate has cancer is mind blowing; it's one hard pill to swallow. How did her life change over night? Why did this have to happen right now? Why does my young friend have cancer and Ovarian Cancer at that?! This just isn't fair, she does NOT deserve this! All of these thoughts and questions ran through my head daily, but there were no answers and nothing we could do to change the situation. Once we realized that we had no power over what was happening, we learned to deal with everything that came our way. Monica did have control over her attitude and her outlook on life and she kept them positive. She had courage. She had hope and most of all, strength. She taught all of us how to handle a crappy situation with beauty and grace and she always kept us calm.

After two years of going through chemo, surgeries, radiation and clinical trials, Monica's health began to diminish. Her quality of life started to take a bad turn, and she began finding it hard to walk, sleep and even travel. Even when so many things started to deteriorate, Monica kept a big smile on her face and always made everyone around her laugh. Of course frustrations ran deep at times, but she never let it take over her life. As Monica would say, "I am not going to quit." Things got worse as time passed, Monica was in and out of the hospital more often and the news never seemed to be good. I always believed that Monica would make it through because of her strength and motivation. I thought nothing could stop her - she was invincible to me.

The day we all dreaded came and on July 12, 2011. Monica passed away at 9:27am. Even though we were surrounded by friends and family, it was the most painful day I have ever had to experience. But even through all of the pain of losing Monica, she still brought so much beauty into all of our lives that day by bringing us all together. None of us ever thought we would have to endure a loss of someone we loved so much at such a young age. I stand here today angry and frustrated with the beast we call Ovarian Cancer. It took my best friend and I will not allow it to take any more!

Monica felt the same way and she found run for her through Cedars-Sinai. run for her is an organization that helps support the research and awareness of Ovarian Cancer. Many people do not know this horrible disease exists - I know I didn't until it hit close to home. Since Monica's diagnoses I've wondered why there isn't a test that can detect ovarian cancer before it's too late. If Monica could have known right when she first started having symptoms, I know she would still be here with us today. run for her is on a mission to change lives, hoping that no one else will ever have to tell a story like mine and Monica's again. I feel very passionate about run for her and we share the same belief: When there is a way for women to have many years added to their lives with a simple test that can detect Ovarian Cancer, this world will be a better place.
Kellie Weston

Rhonda's Story

My mom had a hysterectomy in her fifties with the removal of one of her ovaries due to a large benign cyst on that ovary. Her doctor left her other ovary to help her get through menopause. He told her she had no need for yearly exams since she didn't have her uterus.

In 2005 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Her ovary had developed into a tumor so large, it had grown into her colon, and she had small spots of cancer on her liver and spleen. After a 6 hour surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy she had a 2 year remission. In April of 2007 the cancer returned to her liver and spleen; she battled this cancer again.

Once my mom was diagnosed, a strong family history of this cancer was revealed. Her grandmother, great-grandmother and her aunt died from ovarian cancer. In 2008 my mom's first cousin was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer; sadly she has lost her battle. Because of our family history, my mom's doctor highly recommended my sister and I remove our ovaries.

At the time I was 39 and after researching what can happen to your body from surgical menopause, I was not ready to take such a drastic approach to prevent a cancer I may not get. In addition, I was nervous about hormone replacement therapy after studies linking some HRT to breast cancer. My gynecologist at the time felt I was too young to remove my ovaries, but he was nervous about my family history. He felt the possible risk of breast cancer was much easier to detect unlike the lack of detection and severity of ovarian cancer. After 2 years of struggling with my decision, and the return of my mom's cancer, I made the decision to have a complete hysterectomy.

Why run for her is so important.

My mom and I met Nanci & Mike Sargent when we attended an ovarian cancer walk. We instantly bonded with both of them. Nanci was such an encouragement for my mom who was very scared and depressed about her recent diagnosis. Nanci told us about her daughter Kelli who was trying to start a run/walk called "run for her". Since then, I have been on the run for her committee; I am now more knowledgeable about this cancer and feel a strong need to share this knowledge as it can help save lives.

Ovarian cancer is where breast cancer was thirty years ago before mammography. Currently there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer and is usually diagnosed in the third or fourth stage of the disease, thus making it harder to beat. For now, the best defense for detecting this cancer in the early stages - is awareness. Ovarian cancer whispers so women need to listen.

Unfortunately, most women are not aware of the signs and symptoms and when they do present, women take them for granted (i.e. weight gain, sore back, irritable bowels). Even more unfortunate, some doctors are overlooking these symptoms daily and at the advice of insurance carriers, they are telling their patients if they get a normal pap smear, then they do not need to be checked again for 2 or 3 years. PAP SMEARS DO NOT DETECT OVARIAN CANCER. The pelvic exam along with a rectal exam is the only way to tell if the ovaries are developing a cyst that could possibly become a cancerous tumor. If a cyst is found during a pelvic exam, then an abdominal ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound needs to be done.

Thanks to the Breast Cancer Awareness Programs, doctors advocate the importance of monthly self breast exams and yearly mammograms to their patients. Why then are some doctors telling their patients to wait 2 or 3 years to have their reproductive organs examined? We cannot do self exams on our female reproductive organs!! We need women, doctors, and insurance companies to understand that today in the United States 250,000 women will be diagnosed with some type of gynecological cancer; 27 percent will die from these cancers. If women take the advice of their doctors and wait 2 or 3 years to be examined, the 27 percent statistic will drastically increase.

Last year my mom lost her battle to ovarian cancer. Maybe, if the doctor who told my mom she didn't need yearly exams anymore, or if my mom, our family or if I were more educated about ovarian cancer, her cancer might have been caught in the early stages and she would probably still be with us today.

Know your body, know the symptoms and NEVER skip a yearly pelvic exam!
Rhonda Pieracci

Arden's Story

There are many reasons why it is so important to participate in the Run For Her. I was ignorant of the symptoms and ovarian cancer in general, until I started working at the Cedars-Sinai Outpatient Cancer Center in 2004. I was a clinical social worker and worked with patients and families. One of the practices I covered was the GYN practice, and needless to say, a large number of ladies in that practice had ovarian cancer. I became very familiar with the physical, emotional, financial, religious and personal ups and downs of the disease. I got to know all of these women and close to many of them. I felt their anxiety with every new test and new trial. I felt their exhileration with every good day and small improvement.

I run because my heart is full with every woman, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, grandchild, sister, brother, friend, ...who has been affected by ovarian cancer. I run so women feel supported and cared about and so they know we will never forget them and never give up until we have eradicated this terrible disease. These women are courageous and fight with everything they have and still can give you a smile and try to cheer you up.

As one who practices meditation and tries to be in the present, I dream of a future where ovarian cancer is something from the past and old textbooks. I run because we must.
Arden Teplow

Robin's Story

Paulinda and Robin Robin Babbini was your active teenager and honor student, engaged in numerous high school activities - co-captain of the cheerleading squad, homecoming queen and dramatic arts. Her dynamic life was turned upside down when at the age of 17 she was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. She had a total hysterectomy followed by chemo treatments. Amazingly, with unrivaled optimism and positivity, she completed her classes, graduated high school and began her Freshman year at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

To our horror, the cancer re-occurred six short months later, followed by another surgery, only to find out the cancer had metastasized and she was now considered "chronic." Robin began endless, continuous and different types of cancer treatments.

Robin's determination and everlasting hope gave her the strength to pledge the national sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and she persevered to continue academic studies. She participated as co-captain at the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" at UCSB and, despite her weakening and debilitated condition, gave a gut wrenching, inspirational speech convinced that one day there would be a cure and the suffering would be eradicated. Six weeks later Robin lost her valiant battle at the young age of 20.

Robin has left a remarkable legacy. In perpetuity, Pacific Hills High School in West Hollywood has created the "Robin Babbini Outstanding Senior Award." The Ovarian Cancer Circle presents annually the "Robin Babbini Community Achievement Award" to honor a member of her beloved sorority. The UCSB French Language Department designates the annual "Robin Memorial Award" for an outstanding French 3-level student.

Most importantly, Robin has brought Ovarian Cancer to the forefront of young women's awareness, who now know that this insidious disease has no age boundaries.

Justin's Story

My mom (Kris Horner) was diagnosed with stage 4 Ovarian Cancer in September of 2007. She wasn't diagnosed until her breathing difficulties and general weakness (thought to be bronchitis, whooping cough, etc.) became so bad that she went to the ER. It was found that one her lungs was compressed by a few liters of blood, that ultimately was caused by the ovarian cancer. She initially went through a hysterectomy and chemo. After this, she had about a 6 month cancer free period, but since it has come back, she has been doing chemotherapy consistently. In 2009, I had started to look into running races, and just happened to see a run for her® add. I signed up that day. For the 2009 event, I ran while my wife walked with my mom (still going through chemo). For 2010, we got a bigger team together, "Running for Kris" and my mom was looking forward to walking again in spite of still going through chemo. Unfortunately, the week before the event, my mom was hospitalized for abdominal pain and an infection. The rest of our team still made it to the event to complete it in her honor. She was cheering from her hospital bed as we sent photos and updates. I was fortunate enough to better my time from the previous year and finish 3rd in my age group. She enjoyed being presented with a medal that was won in her honor along with a team t-shirt. It was later found out that her abdominal pain was caused by a large number of ovarian cancer tumors in her abdomen and on her intestines. She will be changing her chemotherapy to combat these and vows to fight on. The courage I have watched her display, her positive attitude towards life, and willingness to support others through a support network, has redefined the definition of strong for me. Our team will be back next year participating in her honor, it's the least we can do. We also participate in honor of my wife's cousin, Sandra Holguin, who passed away in October of 2009 from ovarian cancer. Her sister and parents joined our team as we are all close, and Kris and Sandra obviously shared a special bond.
Justin Horner

Deborah's Story

I walked this year because last year I sat on a chair during the event. I sat because I was in the middle of chemotherapy for stage IIIc ovarian cancer. This year I walked; would have run but my friends and family wouldn't have been able to keep up with me! From the bottom of my heart, I thank my amazing doctors, Andrew Li & Philomena McAndrew, along with the most incredible nurses, family & friends who support me through this journey. The money and awareness that is raised will keep me alive for a very long time. For that I am forever grateful! I can't wait until 2011 run for her®......we are putting together the biggest team ever and hope to raise even more money to support Cedar-Sinai's important research!
Deborah Snyder Warshauer

Frank's Story

Couldn't keep me away. I ran with my daughter and niece last year, my niece and son this year. We lost my sister, my niece's mom, to inflammatory breast cancer six years ago. We run on Brandi Brethour's team, BB's Posse, as Brandi is a good friend of my niece. Brandi is in her second year beyond chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, and is a Cedar's patient. So, lots of reasons - it's been an event for family togetherness, an event to honor and remember my sister, and to support and honor a friend. And, if I read your name correctly, to honor your mother. Each step is a step in the right direction.
Take care, Frank.

Victoria's Story

i ran, jogged, walked today because i come from brca-family. i ran jogged walked today because i could. i ran jogged walked today because september 9, 2001 we said the lord's prayer before my mom's surgery for stage 3 ovarian cancer and she is still here. i ran, jogged, walked today because breaking my toe 3 weeks ago couldn't stop me. i ran, jogged, walked today because dr. beth karlan removed my ovaries august 6, 2010 and i wanted to honor her and the work that she does on behalf of all women and families like mine. i ran, jogged, walked today because i am a breast cancer survivor and i feel united with all of my brothers and sisters that are fighting the good fight. i ran, jogged, walked today because a friend's mom just finished chemo for ovarian cancer and i saw her mother valiantly pushing her wheelchair, standing upright and i can only imagine how much courage it took to do that today.
victoria. vickie. v.e.m.

Sally's Story

Hi there, I had the pleasure of running in the 5k run for her® on Sunday. My family and I drove up from San Diego (Carlsbad, Ca) that morning and we left shortly after I finished so I didn't see the results until now. I was shocked to see that I placed in my division (age 35-39) and was wondering if that meant I earned a medal...I was just curious so I can brag to my husband :) What a great experience it was for my family and I. My mom and sister both had Ovarian Cancer so this cause holds a special place in my heart. It will become a tradition for me and my entire support team for the years to come.
Sally Waite






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