Judy had ovarian cancer and had no support group in Louisville at the time of diagnosis. She wanted that to change for those other women who were diagnosed. Jills mother lived another state and had ovarian cancer. The two met on the Internet in the ACOR Ovarian Cancer Problems Discussion List group. The two decided to form an alliance and raise awareness in the community of ovarian cancer.
The creation of OAK was a gathering of women who had ovarian cancer and let them share experiences through monthly support group meetings. Education and awareness for ovarian cancer was unheard of in the Louisville area; known as the "silent" disease. With that, Jill & Judy pledged to reach the surrounding communities and entire state by holding free educational seminars, attending health and city fairs to distribute information and direct mail marketing to the gynecologists, libraries and health departments.
Judy found the following poem to be so true of her experience.The OAK Tree:
A mighty wind Blew night and day. It stole the oak trees leaves away, Then snapped its boughs And pulled it bark Until the oak was tired and stark. But still the oak tree held its ground While other trees fell all around. The weary wind gave up and spoke, "How can you still be standing, Oak?" The oak tree said, "I know that you Can break each branch of mine in two, Carry every leaf away, Shake my limbs, and make me sway. But I have roots stretched in the earth, Growing stronger since my birth. Youll never touch them, for you see, They are the deepest part of me. Until today, I wasnt sure Of just how much I could endure. But now Ive found, with thanks to you Im stronger than I ever knew."Author unknown
Jill and Judy found they needed to include women diagnosed with any gynecological cancer as there were no support groups available for them either.
They partnered with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to help them learn how to better reach these goals. They attended training seminars and put their plans into action. The group has since blossomed in many ways. In addition to their initial goals, they now speak to 3 rd year medical students at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky as part of the program "Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Womens Lives".
OAK is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization with 12 doctors and a Nurse Practitioner on the Medical Advisory Board and Advisory Board.
Toast To Life Dinner & Silent Auction: This special celebration is held in August every year at The Olmstead. It is a true celebration of the strength of our gynecological cancer survivors. Joining our survivors are their family members, friends, caregivers, volunteers, our Medical Advisory Board and local celebrities such as Rachel Platt & Melissa Swan of WHAS-11 and Vicki Rogers of 106.9. The 2010 Toast to Life Dinner & Silent Auction raised over $20,000 which was used to help fund local and national ovarian cancer research and to provide local community educational programs. The 2011Toast to Life Dinner & Silent Auction, "A Toast to 10",celebrates O.A.K.s 10th Birthday.
Motorcycle Poker RunOne Stop ShopAnnual Mary Cooper Memorial Golf ScrambleDee Edwards Annual Whisper WalkLocal Restaurant Fundraisers
Survivors & Caregivers Monthly Support Group Meeting: Everything can be discussed from the serious to the silly. Medicines, side effects, nutrition & learning what questions to ask your medical personnel. Meetings are separated by adjoining rooms, the 4th Monday of each month, at 6:00 PM at the O.A.K. Office
Lunch & LearnsSurvivors Teaching Students @ U of L & U of K to 3rd Year Medical StudentsHealth Fairs & FestivalsNixon LectureshipGarlove LectureshipPamper Me DayDay at the RacesComedy CaravanCamp Make-A-DreamO.A.K. Library
Mission: Mission... To provide resources for support, networking, and education for women who are diagnosed with gynecological cancers and their caregivers in order to improve outcomes. To create awareness among women and the greater community regarding early warning signs that may be indicative of ovarian cancer, resulting in earlier detection and saved lives To encourage greater citizen participation in gynecological cancer issues for the benefit of future generations through public education programs, media collaboration, and joint ventures with other community organizations
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