‘Turn the Towns Teal’ Locally to Help Fight Ovarian Cancer

By Maria Scandale | Aug 28, 2019
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Stafford Township — Tune your eyes to the color teal in September – ribbons for the project “Turn the Towns Teal” will be tied on for ovarian cancer research and awareness.

Arlene Morrison and Chuck Sulkowski are the area coordinators for the first-ever awareness project in Ocean County. Turn the Town Teal is a nationwide initiative. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

The ribbons are ready. Volunteers have made 700 teal bows that will be displayed by businesses.

This week, Morrison and others will be asking businesses to help by simply displaying a ribbon.

Municipalities can participate as well. Earlier this year, Stafford Township approved having ribbons hung on township property. At press time Aug. 21, that same request was being asked of the Ship Bottom Borough Council.

“There is no cost to the town or businesses to participate,” Morrison said.

However, in another way, several businesses have been major supporters of the project in Ocean County – paying for materials, for example. They are: Causeway Family of Dealerships, Flemington Car & Truck Country, Keith Kohler Acupuncture, and Big Apple Bakery.

Morrison knows someone who is affected by a diagnosis. Sulkowski lost his wife to the disease.

“Turn The Towns Teal, a national campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer and its often subtle symptoms, was the inspiration of Gail MacNeil (1943-2008) of Chatham. This campaign goes forward in her name and in her honor,” says the website.

“During Gail’s ten-year battle with ovarian cancer, she realized first-hand that not enough was being done to publicize the symptoms of the disease,” says the website. “She wanted to spare others what she and her family endured.

“Gail was fastidious about her health and went to her gynecologist on three separate occasions complaining of classic symptoms; however, her doctor dismissed these symptoms as merely the onset of middle age. On December 23, 1997 Gail was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer.”

The awareness campaign wants to get the message across that “the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.” A Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer.

The website lists potential symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, or indigestion; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency); unexplained changes in bowel habits; unexplained weight gain/loss; ongoing unusual fatigue; back pain; menstrual changes; pain during intimacy.

“If these symptoms persist for 10 days to two weeks, consult your gynecologist, physician, or preferably a gynecological oncologist,” says the website.

Listed risk factors linked to ovarian cancer include genetic predisposition (BRCA1/BRCA2 gene); personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer; increasing age; reproductive history and infertility; hormone replacement therapy.

Any business, place of worship or individual wanting to help can email info@turnthetownsteal.org or call 973-543-2523 to be put in touch with an area representative.

— Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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