Community. What does that mean to you? To us, it’s always been about connecting, sharing stories and helping others.
The community we gathered a few weeks ago at CUT by Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles is uniquely special.
It was a community of moms, care partners and loved ones—most with a connection to cancer. Gathering together and sharing our individual experiences helps provide others with the support they need to continue the fight. There’s nothing more inspiring than that!
I am a breast cancer survivor and my partner, Melissa, is the sister and daughter of cancer survivors. That’s why we were so proud to host ovarian cancer survivor, and seven-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics, Shannon Miller. She joined us in partnership with Our Way Forward and TESARO, Inc., a GSK Company, for one of our MAMARAZZI events. The event helped raise awareness about ovarian cancer and encouraged women to talk about their experiences and seek out resources.
Shannon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost eight years ago and since her diagnosis, not only has she advocated to help ensure other women are aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease, but she has helped to develop and spread awareness about the support and resources that are available to them.
Hearing Shannon speak reminded all of us in the room about the importance of putting our own health first, even though we, as women, are often prioritizing others in our lives—whether it is our spouses/partners, children, family members or friends.
At The MOMS, there’s something we have learned over the years about our community and it’s that we are all driven by love and support. To continue supporting our own, Shannon, Melissa and myself were all proud to wear outfits by fellow ovarian cancer survivor and single mom – Pia Gladys Perry. We also met Cheyann Shaw for the first time and are connecting her with potential speaking opportunities because her ovarian cancer story is so powerful. She is a stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor and was diagnosed just before her wedding. We also reconnected with some of our mom friends and learned more about their connections to cancer.
Looking ahead, we will proudly continue to share our stories in the hopes they help others. Storytelling is the foundation to empowering others. That’s why Our Way Forward is so important—it offers several resources, including events, videos, blog posts and a discussion guide that can help address the unique conversations and emotions that are associated with an ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment and disease recurrence. We didn’t want to be a part of the cancer community—in fact, no one really does. But if you have to be, at least we have a place where we can support, learn, connect and empower each other.