Stories of Inspiration

He’s in the Army now: Wife’s cancer prompts man to enlist
By Mark Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

My story is of my sister Joan Sagan. Joanie wasn’t just my sister she was my best friend, one of my traveling buddies, someone I could tell my troubles to. In 1999 my sister was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Joanie was an oncology nurse who worked to bring the Race for the Cure to Milwaukee in 1998. While registering and getting ready for the run/walk for the second year my sister was having serve leg pain. She ended up in the hospital and was treated for blood clots. After going home she found her own tumor sitting on a main artery in her left leg. At the time I never hear the two words ovarian and cancer put together. Now it seems like so many people either have a loved one or know of someone who has ovarian cancer. My sister lost her battle May 1, 2004 but before she passed away she asked my sister Sandi and I to keep her promise. While fighting her battle with ovarian cancer we started the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance in May 2000 and here we are, over ten years later! So until there’s a test we need to keep bring the awareness and education to all women, their families and the medical professionals.

I was an active, athletic, happy girl all my life. Three weeks after completing the second triathlon of the season, and my personal best time, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage lllc. Although I was in the best fitness level ever, this deadly disease had taken up residency in my body without permission and would change the rest of my life. Fortunately, I endured the extensive surgery, and seventeen months of chemotherapy that followed, quite well. I was back in the pool walking laps 3 weeks after surgery, and back to triathlons while still in treatment that next summer. Only a small percentage of women do not have recurrence of disease the first year after chemotherapy ends. I have been done with my chemo for over three years, and will celebrate my 5 year cancer-versary in August, 2010. This blessing in my life has led me to incredible women with undaunting courage. It has given purpose to my voice, and many challenges to strengthen my faith. I am grateful for all of it. I am grateful for all the friends I have loved and lost. I am inspired by those who live and die with hope, and embrace each new day as gift. –Gail Foreman, ovca survivor lllc dx: 08/16/05

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