December 20, 2016


December 20, 2016

The race in her spirit: Family raise money to honor loved one 
Cancer Conqueror: Patient shares story of resilience 
Free Survivors Course weekend in Alaska
Learn more about your Foundation
Thank you friends and advocates!
2016 race survey now open
Survivors Quote of the Month

The race in her spirit: Family raise money to honor loved one



Jessica Banov and her mother, Marla Banov, know firsthand about the devastation of a gynecologic cancer diagnosis. The Banov and Gould families lost a beloved daughter, sister and wife, Rachel Banov Gould, at age 31, to cervical cancer in 2012.

Rachel was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2011 after her yearly check-up. The diagnosis came as a surprise since she was healthy and made all of her yearly checkups.

Rachel had documented her cancer journey in her blog, Seriously?- Yep this is my life. In each post, she shared her musings and frustration about living with cervical cancer.

After her death, the Banov family preserves the memory of Rachel each year, by raising money for the National Race to End Women’s Cancer and educational funding and research for gynecologic cancers through the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

Over the last six years, the Banov family has raised more than $50,000 for the cause. For Jessica, the race is not only an opportunity to raise money and awareness about cervical cancer, but a chance to get together as a family and honor her sister’s life. 

“The National Race to End Women’s Cancer has become part of our lives,” Jessica said.

The Banov family’s involvement in the race is a way to keep Rachel’s story and her determination to help others alive. As a philanthropically-minded woman with a degree in public policy, Jessica said she is convinced that Rachel would have been passionately involved in the cause.

Rachel learned about the race and the FWC in 2011. One of her childhood friends started a race team for Rachel, and they asked friends and family to join the event. Her race team wore the - Seriously? shirts from the blog that Rachel started. The FWC encourages survivors and advocates to create race teams to raise money to support the cause.

The 2016 National Race to End Women’s Cancer in November was the family’s sixth race. Each year, Jessica said she is touched by the stories of survivors, families and advocates. The money that the Banovs have donated has gone to cervical cancer educational funding of a brochure in honor of Rachel.

“We do this (the race) because she can’t,” Jessica said. “We feel a sense of responsibility.”

Read more about Rachel’s story in Redbook magazine. Donations are still being accepted until Dec. 31 for Team Seriously?

 Cancer Conqueror: Patient shares story of resilience, support

Team Gibbs

Kimberly Gibbs started her cancer journey with a determination to stay true to herself. After an ovarian cancer diagnosis on July 18, 2015, Gibbs understood the importance of not letting cancer define her story or her life. “Cancer cannot own me,” stressed Gibbs, a Tulsa resident and attendee of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer ovarian cancer survivors course in Oklahoma City.

Not only did Gibbs decide to stay true to herself, but she also made an active choice to stay connected with friends, neighbors and coworkers. She called her community of support, “Team Gibbs,” with her best friend Tracy as the captain of her team.

“People really want to do things for you,” Gibbs said. “It’s not that I never knew that. I just never let someone help me like this until this journey.” 

Her team captain encouraged Gibbs to contact a neighbor to walk with after her doctor encouraged Gibbs to stay active. A group of women in her neighborhood started walking with Gibbs every day, chatting about church, kids and work.

“We would walk down and back, sometimes an hour, sometimes an hour and a half,” she said. “Sometimes it wasn’t all of us, sometimes it was only two of us.” The walking group provided Gibbs with a community of support.

The walking group was only one example of Gibbs’ support system. Members of Team Gibbs traveled with her to chemotherapy appointments at the Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute, support group sessions and even helped organize a birthday party for her with the all funds going to a local non-profit called Angelheart.

As an employee of the American Airlines, Gibbs stayed connected with her co-workers as well. Even though Gibbs could not attend events because of illness, her coworkers included Gibbs by creating a cardboard cutout with Gibbs’ picture and sent her a photo of the group. Gibbs also attended support events at Joy in the Cause, as well as becoming a member of Anna’s Belles (the local ovarian support group).

During her journey, Gibbs said she learned the importance of accepting help from others.

“If someone wants to bring you pizza, say ‘yes’,” she said. “Let them do it. Don’t be shy.”

As Gibbs continues her journey while she still undergoes chemotherapy, she feels like she is not simply a survivor, but a conqueror.

“Cancer has taught me to live fearlessly, with the tenacity of a Greek goddess, which transcends the unimaginable experience of a journey.”

 Free Survivors Course weekend in Alaska

Registration is open for the free Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Course Weekend at the Providence Cancer Center at 3851 Piper Street in Anchorage, AK, from Feb. 3-5.

The weekend includes valuable information for patients and survivors such as personalized treatment and survivorship as well as an art showcase and a Rhythm Heals music concert. The course on Saturday, Feb. 4 will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the course on Sunday, Feb. 5, will take place from 8:00 4:00 p.m. A lunch will be provided for attendees each day.

The First Friday Art Showcase, featuring artists whose lives have been touched by cancer will kick off the weekend’s events from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Blue Hollomon Gallery at 3555 Arctic Boulevard in Anchorage, AK. A “Dance Like Barb” Rhythm Heals Concert featuring The Sugar Saturated Sugar Strings and Underground Dance Company will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Saturday at the Tap Root Public House, 3300 Spenard Road Anchorage.

A continuing medical education course for physicians will run concurrently with Saturday’s Survivors Course from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The course is open to all cancer survivors, loved ones, caretakers and friends who are interested in hearing from leading experts in gynecologic cancer research. The course is located in Conference Rooms 2281 and 2285, Tower U in Providence Cancer Center. A tentative list of presentations is available.

Visit the website or contact Teri Jordan for hotel and parking information regarding the course. The full list of 2017 Survivors Courses.

Learn more about your Foundation!

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer has created new informational materials for gynecologic cancer patients, survivors and advocates. An informational brochure describes our mission to end women’s cancer, and the FWC Fact Sheet is also available online to share with fellow advocates and survivors. A PDF copy is available online and hard copies are available on request.  A complete list of the educational items offered by the FWC can be found on the request form.

Thank you friends and advocates! 

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer thanks our patients, survivors, and advocates for making movements, moments, and memories with us for the last 25 years. Each year the Foundation strives to provide public awareness, educational courses, and gynecologic cancer research. This holiday season support the Foundation by donating online or mail in your donations via a check or money order (payable to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer) to: Foundation for Women’s Cancer at 230 W. Monroe St., Suite 710, Chicago, IL. Donations for the National Race to End Women’s Cancer are still open until Dec. 31.

2016 race survey now open

A survey for the 6th National Race to End Women’s Cancer is now open for attendees. The Foundation for Women’s Cancer wants to hear your feedback about the race. We strive to provide our advocates, survivors and friends with the best experience, and want to use your feedback to make the 2017 race even better.

 Survivors Quote of the Month 



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Couldn’t make it to the National Race to End Women’s Cancer? You can still support women with gynecologic cancers by making a contribution today.


September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. #GCAM


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


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