Three Different Ways
Working together, I think, is the key to success for any venture, especially when the same end goal is shared between two or more parties. I’ve mentioned Make it Matter for Cheri before, but I wanted to point out this group first because they most recently reached out to me about helping each other out re: awareness. MIMFC was created to spread awareness for all gynecological cancers – not just ovarian, uterine, cervical, etc. and – like so many other similar organizations – was formed as a reaction to a personal diagnosis of cancer. I Believe in Teal began after the founder’s grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer…and Tordis’ Hope Foundation was again a reactive movement. Its founder expressed a similar frustration that we all share: Pink is not the only color.
The reason I mention these great and growing groups is twofold: One, I need to convey the urgency of “banding together” for strength within the ovarian cancer community itself; and two, we need to (even more so) convince the corporations larger than us that it is possible to support to very important women’s diseases. But the only way we can do that is by working together first to show the “big guys” that we’re worth the investment.
“Banding together”, of course, doesn’t mean that the larger organizations (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, etc.) are not doing enough. Actually, their hard work is what inspires the many of us smaller (or ‘splinter groups’, as I like to call us. Why? We all share the same goal(s) – awareness, early detection, funding, etc. – but are adapting our individual causes to our own needs in our respective communities) organizations to keep going. So, instead of comparing ourselves, as I’m even wont to do, to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, how about we instead change our comparisons from that of bitterness/hurt/disappoint/rage to, “Let’s keep hosting parties/events/etc. that help the current large OC groups get even larger” or “Let’s model our group’s success on theirs so we can convince them that we can be teammates, not opponents”?
Granted, that’s not asking any of us to forsake our own foundations we may be running for scholarships, research grants, etc., nor is it implying to simply give up and bide our time. No, instead it’s a call to keep working and keep working together to show the rest of the world what unity we do have so people keep hearing our message. I will never forget something a dear co-worker-turned-friend told me: You have to tell people the same thing three different ways to get your point across. Well, us contacting each other, forming our own alliances/foundations/campaigns, continuing the fight…that’s our “three different ways”. And because ovarian cancer is such a huge deal, it just will take that much longer to sink in, but it will.