Thrive Newsletter


September 19, 2017

Honestly Hopeful” A 30-year survivor of ovarian cancer reflects on her life, GCAM and the future
#Sharethepurpleove: Help End Women’s Cancer with these 10 easy ways
Get ready for FWC’s End Women’s Cancer Weekend
Don’t forget about the free educational courses across the country

Honestly Hopeful: A 30-year old survivor of advanced ovarian cancer reflects on her life, awareness month and the future


It was 1987. Helen Palmquist knew something was wrong. Her abdomen was enlarged to make her look five months pregnant. After phoning her brother, an obstetrician and gynecologist, and listening to his insistence for her to see a gynecologist, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 41.

More than 30 years later, Helen, now 72, celebrates Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, the official awareness month for gynecologic cancers created by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC). Helen reflects on how her diagnosis changed her life and instilled an enduring sense of hope for other women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

As a survivor, Helen witnessed the changes in the field of gynecologic oncology and the improved awareness for gynecologic cancers.

“Ovarian cancer” was not something talked about at the time, she said. Luckily, Helen was referred to a gynecologic oncologist, John Lurain, MD at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Helen credits her gynecologic oncologist and his treatment for saving her life and helping fulfill her wish of watching her children grow up.

Helen went through a recurrence in 1993, six years after her initial diagnosis, but luckily, she has been in good health since then.

Not only did Helen witness her children growing up, but she also devoted her life to giving hope to other women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Throughout the process, Helen said she stayed positive, hopeful and strong. Her tenacity helped her through.

“My ovarian cancer diagnosis gave me a real purpose in my life,” she said. Several years after her treatment Helen met other survivors who have become lifelong friends. She worked with other ovarian cancer organizations such as the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and Ovarian Research Fund Alliance and attended FWC Survivors Courses.

For Helen, she always recommends a woman with symptoms go to a gynecologist and if ovarian cancer is suspected, the gynecologist should refer the patient to a gynecologic oncologist. She also encourages others to get BRCA testing. Helen has the BRCA-2 gene, a gene on chromosome 13 that normally helps to suppress cell growth. A person who inherits certain mutations (changes) in a BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of getting breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.

“Everyone with ovarian cancer should get genetic testing. If they test positive, they should encourage their family members [to get tested},” she said. “Knowledge is power.”

Celebrate Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month with Helen by learning how you can help #EndWomensCancer.

#Sharethepurplelove: Help End Women’s Cancer with these 10 easy ways


September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM), a time to share the stories of survivors of gynecologic cancer and spread awareness about these cancers to the public. GCAM was created by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer in 1999.

Throughout the month, the Foundation has been sharing the purple love with a social media campaign focused on clinical trials and gynecologic cancer awareness. Our awareness month is a perfect time to learn how you can help with our mission to end women’s cancer. Below are 10 easy ways to help end women’s cancer today!

What can you do to help end women’s cancer in honor of GCAM? Read these 10 easy ways!

    1. #Sharethepurplelove by donating to the FWC in honor of GCAM. Donations will help support research, awareness and education for gynecologic cancers.
    1. Follow and like FWC’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages as FWC shares inspiration, information and fun throughout the month.
    2. Use hashtags #EndWomensCancer, #sharethepurplelove and #GCAM in related social media posts focused on raising awareness about gynecologic cancers.
    3. Write or share social media posts about clinical trials. Feel free to share our social media posts and use the hashtag #Trials4GynCancerNOW.
    4. Register for the National Race to End Women’s Cancer on Nov. 5, 2017, in Washington, DC.
    5. Share information about clinical trials on our website.
    6. Print out our GCAM posters for your office or home.
    7. Wear our awareness color purple throughout the month.
    8. Use the GCAM photo frame on your Facebook profile photo.
    9. Start your own a fundraiser on Facebook for Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.

Get ready for FWC’s End Women’s Cancer Weekend

GCAM graphics

Join in FWC’s End Women’s Cancer Weekend from Nov. 4-5, 2017, in Washington, DC.  The weekend for survivors, advocates, family and friends consists of a 5K/one mile fun walk, an educational course and a community of support with survivors and advocates from across the country.

Our National Race to End Women’s Cancer on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 offers a perfect day for family and friends to spend time in the nation’s capital and share the mission to end women’s cancer in the beautiful downtown scenery of Washington, DC.  The day is filled with live music, dancing and inspirational speeches from survivors and advocates. 

Register for the 5K and one mile walk today! If you register before the end of September, all registrations will receive $10 off if they use promo code: GCAM2017.

Don’t forget to create a fundraising team to raise money for the mission-based programs of the Foundation, including research, awareness and education for gynecologic cancers. The money raised helps us get closer to help end women’s cancer.

The weekend will also include a free educational course on gynecologic cancers on Saturday, Nov. 4 at JW Marriott in Washington, DC. Register today!

 Don’t forget about the free educational courses across the country!

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer will offer Survivors Courses in 2017 in CaliforniaNew JerseyWisconsin and Washington, DC. Registration is open for all four courses.

The free courses are led by national experts in the field of gynecologic oncology. Some topics will include clinical trials, recurrent ovarian cancer, survivorship, sexual health, hereditary ovarian cancer symptoms and cutting edge treatments.

Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
City of Hope
Duarte, CA
Register today!

Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI
Register today!

Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Course
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017
Summit Medical Group
Berkeley Heights, NJ
Register today!

Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Course
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
Washington, D.C.
Register today! 

Survivors Quote of the Month

“The more women that enroll in clinical trials, the faster science can advance and more treatments can be discovered,” Wendy Ericsson, survivor 

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Elizabeth Young isn’t afraid to jump for a cause no matter how high. As a survivor of cervical cancer, Young empowers women through skydiving, running marathons and giving back to the cause. This year is no different with her second skydiving event Mother’s Day Weekend.


September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.  After creating the month in 1999, the Foundation strives to bring attention about these cancers through public awareness campaigns.


The Foundation is proud to offer various Research Grants and Awards. Click here for more information.


FREE Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Courses throughout the country. For more information, click here.