May 19th, 2015
Submitted by Jim Olson
The London Run for Ovarian Cancer has become a very important part of my life - first with my wife Mary as a way to fight the disease and now, for me to help facilitate new therapies for all women.
My wife Mary Olson was 54 years old when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008. Our daughters were 22 and 19. Mary had always lived a healthy lifestyle, not smoking or drinking, and she exercised regularly. So it was a shock when she became sick.
Ovarian cancer is called "the disease that whispers," because its symptoms are vague and easy to miss. Therefore, women are often not diagnosed until the cancer is advanced. This was true for Mary - she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer - the cancer had spread into the lining of her abdomen.
Mary passed away on Dec. 21, 2013 - five years and one month after her diagnosis. She "beat the odds" in that she was part of only 30 per cent of women who survive five years, for which we are grateful. But we would be more grateful if she had been cured.
Over the five years of Mary's battle, we tried to prevent our lives from becoming defined by cancer, but Mary endured two major surgeries and three different kinds of chemotherapy, which produced numerous side effects that made her life difficult.
Mary was thankful that she met her first grandson, born in April, 2012. Unfortunately, she did not quite meet her second grandson, born in January, 2014, one month after Mary passed away. He will never know a grandmother who would have loved him enormously.
The London Run for Ovarian Cancer became very important to Mary - it gave her a way to fight the disease directly. She knew that new therapies would be too late for her, but fought for all of the other women she knew and loved, including our daughters.
Ovarian cancer will be beaten. It will just take a lot of research. The Run for Ovarian Cancer is dedicated to contributing to that research. That is why I am involved.