Ovarian Cancer Survivors Walk “Together in Teal”
By Ethan Ferguson
Reporting Texas TV
SAN MARCOS, Texas – For the first time in three years, several Texas chapters of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition hosted the annual Together in Teal community walk in-person.
Combining the Central Texas, Austin and San Antonio chapters of the coalition, this year’s event on Oct. 2 took place in San Marcos for the first time. There were virtual walks in 2020 and 2021.
Their mission is to prevent and cure ovarian cancer, and improve the quality of life for our survivors and caregivers.
Kathi Coner is a seven-year survivor of ovarian cancer. She lives in San Marcos and was excited that “Together in Teal” came to her hometown.
“Now to meet other survivors that have been [in treatment or recovery for] 20 years, it gives you hope that you can fight, and you can win,” Coner said.
Coner said a person is labeled as a “survivor” as soon as they are diagnosed. According to the American Cancer Society, around 19,880 women in the United States will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year. Ovarian cancer is most common in women between the ages of 55 to 64 years, according to Loyola Medicine.
That isn’t always the case.
Alexia Arabit was diagnosed during the second semester of her freshman year of college. She’s had six tumor removal surgeries, including one on her 21st birthday.
“Before all of this, I didn’t really realize that happiness was a choice, and then choosing to be happy through probably the worst period of my life,” Arabit said.
She said that she wants people to remember to be grateful and present, and although the pain will be hard, it won’t be as hard some days.
“Those days, you get to enjoy the things you used to love, like spending time with your family or going outside,” Arabit said.
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition gives survivors an opportunity to go outside, spend time with their family and walk Together in Teal.
“Today’s event is really all about connection,” said Melissa Aucoin, Chief Executive Officer of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
“It’s about getting people together for the cause and fight in support of the cause.”
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, but the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s advocacy work is year-round. They discover It offers resources in Texas, implements a support network and provides guidance and information about new treatments and genetic testing.
“It’s just so important that you have somebody there that can fight for you and can advocate for you,” Coner said.
Meredith Mitstifer, the Chairman of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Board of Directors, said the NOCC’s purpose is to support as many survivors as possible across ten regions throughout the United States. They NOCC raises funds from events such as this Together in Teal that go towards meal delivery programs, scholarship grants for women in treatment, and continuous education and awareness.
“Share your story, connect with others, engage, ask for help, and don’t be afraid to sign up for any of the resources that we have. That’s what they’re there for,” Mitstifer said.