I wanted to first say Thank You to Shannon Routh aka Teal Diva whom God put in my path for a reason. I’ve watched Teal Diva grow over the years and I couldn’t be more proud!!! Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my story.
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer. It is the deadliest of all the “women’s” cancers. 1 in 72 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In 2008 my sister Judy was the one. She was the oldest of 7, a wife of 20 plus years, mother of 2 and an RN nurse. She passed away a year later at the age of 49. Sisters are one of life’s greatest blessings and to lose one is unbearable.
In 2010 with the help of many I formed Ovarian Cancer Awareness Charlotte, NC. For five years I promoted awareness and worked with other local nonprofits trying to make a difference. Five years in I was feeling defeated when, by the grace of God I met a young, single mom named Amy Roberts who lost her beloved Grandma as the result of Ovarian Cancer. It was the height of the ALS water bucket challenge and every day Amy would send me e-mails saying we need to do something…..we need a challenge. She was right we did, but what???
Prior to Judy passing away, we took a girl’s trip to Blowing Rock, NC. My mom, niece, my sisters and I purchased butterfly necklaces at a boutique called IAGO on Main Street. Each was a different color and we complimented one another as we all put them on. We asked the sales lady to take a picture and just before she did Judy with her contagious laugh joked and said “make a butterfly symbol with your hands.”
I came across that photo, and that’s when it hit me, what if we asked people to paint their nails teal (the designated color of ovarian cancer) make a butterfly with their hands, challenge others and post on social media #tealbutterflychallenge.
We launched the challenge the first day of spring and it quickly spread on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Amy and I painted hundreds of nails all over Charlotte, NC. Men, women, teenagers, children were all stepping up to take the challenge. We made a You Tube video and an article was written in the local newspapers. Before Spring was over, hundreds of people all over the world took the challenge. It went as far as the Czech Republic. We were receiving messages daily from so many thanking us for giving Ovarian Cancer Awareness a voice.
Knowledge is power and we owe it to the future generation to make a difference, to educate our girls. This past year Amy and I took the Teal Butterfly Challenge to another level by receiving our 501(c)3. We are officially a nonprofit. We have recently partnered with the Girl Scouts of NC who offer an opportunity to earn a Teal Butterfly Challenge patch by taking the challenge and spreading awareness. We have also partnered with both the Charlotte Checkers Hockey and the Charlotte Knights Baseball to spread awareness at sporting events. We are hoping to see more teal butterflies as time goes on. We are hope every OB/GYN will one day wear our new teal butterfly pin on their white surgical coat to help spread awareness and that there will be a list of symptoms posted in every office and clinic. Amy and I are doing our best to make a difference and spread awareness for ovarian cancer. We would love to see your teal butterfly; we challenge you. For more information on the symptoms of ovarian cancer go to: www.tealbutterflychallenge.com