River Valley Organization Raises Awareness About Ovarian Cancer

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RIVER VALLEY (KFSM) — It’s one of the leading causes of death for women in the United States, and during the month of September communities across the country are bringing attention to ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death among women in our country. Since the statistics are so high, a local organization is trying to raise awareness in our area by tying teal ribbons to lamp poles in different cities in the River Valley. Teal is the color representing ovarian cancer awareness. The ribbons are to help teach people about the signs and dangers of ovarian cancer.

The group is called the “River Valley Ovarian Cancer Alliance.” The founder, Blanche West, became involved after her sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 10 years ago.

They’ve been tying the ribbons in Greenwood, Fort Smith, Hackett and Van Buren for the past five years. Their mission through “Turn the Towns Teal” is to teach others about the importance and severity of ovarian cancer. Not only that, but their goal is also to educate and inform the public about the facts, symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer.

“We know the earlier the diagnosis the better the prognosis,” West said.

The group of 10 or more women provide support and funds to patients and their families by hosting different events throughout the year. Last month, they raised more than $50,000 at their “Teal Night in Tahiti” event.

“It’s not based on a financial need, but it’s the fact that they have ovarian cancer and they have to go somewhere and get treatment,” said West. “We also provide gas cards to our patients who are going out of town for treatment.”

Group members said they don’t know exactly why teal is the color for ovarian cancer awareness, but folks said that the letters stand for Take Early Action and Live.

The organization will be hosting an event on Saturday (Sept. 10) at the Janet Huckabee Nature Center in Fort Smith. The event is being held to remember those who have lost their lives due to ovarian cancer. It starts at 10 a.m. and is free to the public.