A SMILE TO REMEMBER

April 7, 2013


No bigger than a minute (as my grandmother Westbrook used to say ); funnier than her quiet demeanor would reveal; a smile that breaks like sunrise in the Pacific Ocean—that described Darlene Shipp.   Darlene and Randy Shipp are neighbors in our “hood”, dear long-time friends, and threads in a closely-woven fabric that basically defines life in our small town of Ridgeside, Tennessee.   Darlene fought a very tough battle with ovarian cancer.   She lost that battle, but not the war.   Darlene died on Fathers’ Day of 2012.  As her attending nurse said; “Darlene just slipped away”.  This was a tragic loss for our small community and we still feel the pain of her departure.   Today, even though continuing to mourn that loss, we celebrated her life with a 5 K “Walk to Remember”.    If you believe a picture is worth a thousand words— take a look.

Darlene ( Randy's Home)

 

Randy contacted the American Cancer Society in August of 2012 to begin the process of organizing the 5K walk.  As you might imagine, sponsors were solicited to help finance the event, but most of the funds were derived from neighbors, friends and companies more than willing to help celebrate.   The director for the American Cancer Society in our region is Lisa Bishop.  Lisa did a magnificent and tireless job, as did Randy, in organizing the 5K.  The JPEG below will show them in a post-walk get-together.

Lisa Bishop and Randy(2)

 

Several of the sponsors are shown below with additional contributors named on signs along the course path.

A Smile to Remember (2)

 

There were 200 plus pre-registrants and 67 individuals who register as “walk-up” participants giving a total of approximately 300 people.   Of course, T-shirts were given out indicating registration with A Smile to Remember as the main pronouncement.     Lisa Bishop (American Cancer Society) indicated this turnout was excellent for a first year event.   You can see the general participation from the JPEG below.

Crowd Scene(2)

 

As you might expect for events such as this, helpers are needed for a variety of tasks to be performed before, during and after the walk.  Those helpers wore teal shirts to indicate their willingness.

Helpers(2)

 

Five of the neighbor-volunteers; i.e. Katy, Lisa, Lynda, Lori and Kerry are shown below.  (Note the smiling faces.)

Ladies in the Hood (2)

 

As you know, some ladies lose their hair during chemotherapy but until it grows back, they may choose to wear a wig.  Salon on 58 participated by  cutting hair of anyone over 16 with at least eight-inch locks to contribute for use in making these much-appreciated wigs.

Salon on 58 (2)

 

Their staff that day provided a great service, and to my surprise, was busy the entire time.

Staff of Salon 58(2)

 

If caught in its early stages, cancer is NOT the death sentence it once was.  That is testified to by the people below who are survivors of cancer.

 

 

Survivors(2)

 

I participated in a very small way hoping to provide “value-added” and consider that participation as an investment in the future.  This investment, hopefully, will find a cure for ovarian cancer so Little Miss Annie Shipp will not suffer as her grandmother did.

Annie Shipp

 

The CDC in Atlanta provides the following facts regarding ovarian cancer:

Who Gets Ovarian Cancer?

All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women.  About 90% of women who get ovarian cancer are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women aged 60 years or older.

Each year, about 20,000 women in the United States get ovarian cancer.  Among women in the United States, ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer death, after lung and bronchus, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, but it accounts for only about 3% of all cancers in women. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer may cause one or more of these signs and symptoms—

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones).
  • Back pain.
  • Bloating, which is when the area below your stomach swells or feels full.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating.
  • A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.

Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you, see a doctor right away. Also see a doctor if you have any of the other signs for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor. The earlier ovarian cancer is found and treated, the more likely treatment will be effective.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

There is no way to know for sure if you will get ovarian cancer. Most women get it without being at high risk. However, several factors may increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, including if you—

  • Are middle-aged or older.
  • Have close family members (such as your mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother) on either your mother’s or your father’s side, who have had ovarian cancer.
  • Have a genetic mutation (abnormality) called BRCA1 or BRCA2.
  • Have had breast, uterine, or colorectal (colon) cancer.
  • Have an Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish background.
  • Have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant.
  • Have endometriosis (a condition where tissue from the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body).

In addition, some studies suggest that women who take estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for 10 or more years may have an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

If one or more of these factors is true for you, it does not mean you will get ovarian cancer. But you should speak with your doctor about your risk.

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4 Responses to “A SMILE TO REMEMBER”


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