Advocates, local business owners and volunteers painted the town “teal” on Thursday by tying teal-colored ribbons on trees along Myrtle Avenue Plaza to raise awareness ahead of September’s National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The campaign was spearheaded by T.E.A.L., the Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer/ Louisa M. McGregor Foundation, to educate Brooklyn residents about the early signs of ovarian cancer.
Each year, according to the NY State Department of Health, about 1,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and nearly 1,000 women die of the disease, making it the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths among women in the state. As with all cancer types, early detection is crucial to overcome it.
Two Brooklyn sisters, Louisa M. McGregorPamela Esposito-Amery, founded the organization in 2009 after Louisa was diagnosed with the disease. They quickly began to realize that as a result of the absence of ovarian cancer research funding, women across the country lacked the awareness, treatment options and ability to diagnose, and therefore the essentials patients need in their fight against the disease.
Although Louisa lost her four-year battle with cancer in 2011, Pamela continues to pursue their goal: to decrease mortality rates by helping women identify symptoms and urging them to seek medical help at the earliest possible stages.
In addition to outreach initiatives, T.E.A.L. also provides support programs for patients and survivors, as well as funds for research and public education campaigns. The nonprofit participates in health fairs and symposiums, and holds lectures at schools, universities, community centers and hospitals and throughout the year to raise awareness around ovarian cancer and women’s health issues in general. All programs function on the principle that awareness and education of ovarian cancer is empowering, and understanding this deadly disease is the first step toward fighting it.
The organization’s next big event is the 11th annual T.E.A.L. Walk and Run in Prospect Park on Saturday, September 7; the goal is to raise $200,000 for programs and research. To sign up for the walk, go here.