The goal of Turn The Towns Teal South Windsor aimed to spread awareness of the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer.
The campaign - brought to town by Lara Eaton in memory of her mother Dr. Leslie Eldon, with the help of the South Windsor Junior Women’s Club - did that in three ways.
First, the campaign held an event at Evergreen Walk Sunday, which drew dozens of people to hear the stories of a mother and sister lost to the disease and of a woman who survived it.
Those who attended were given symptoms cards to help them recognize possible signs of ovarian cancer and encouraged to keep them in their medicine cabinet, review them every once in a while and be mindful of the disease.
Amy Bahre, the survivor and Eaton’s friend who brought Turn The Towns Teal to Bolton said that ovarian cancer is the silent disease, so it was fitting for her to break her silence and share her story.
She gave women three tips: Listen to your body, speak to, and ask questions of, your doctor and there is hope in early detection.
President of the national Turn The Towns Teal Jane MacNeil spoke at the event, sharing how her sister-in-law Gail MacNeil had launched the organization and thanking those who brought it to South Windsor.
“She was reaching for a package of Thomas’ English Muffins with a pink ribbon on it and she said, ‘Nobody is doing anything for ovarian cancer awareness.’”
Before she died, she started Turn The Towns Teal. The seed she sowed was reaped Sunday as Jane MacNeil looked out on a crowd at Evergreen Walk hearing and sharing the message.
Second, Eaton and women’s club members tied teal ribbons to every telephone pole and tree lining South Windsor's streets so that everyone who drives through the town would know September is ovarian cancer awareness month.
Third, additional symptom cards will be going with Miss USA Erin Brady this year as she travels through the United States speaking about breast and ovarian cancer. Jane MacNeil gave Brady the symptoms cards to distribute to women everywhere.
“I hear of cases every single day of young women getting ovarian cancer,” MacNeil said. “And now all the people who look up to you will know.”
The symptoms of ovarian cancer, courtesy of turnthetownsteal.org, include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
- Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
- Frequency and/or urgency of urination in the absence of an infection
- Unexplained changes in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
- Ongoing unusual fatigue
- Menstrual changes
- Pain during sex
- Back pain