About Us

The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio (OCAO) is an advocate for those affected by ovarian cancer

Our mission is to promote early detection of ovarian cancer with advocacy, education, awareness, and public outreach to improve outcomes and help save lives. We also work to support women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer as well as their family members.

Our vision is to have the best volunteer workforce that embraces our core values and mission. We work with people touched by ovarian cancer to help communicate our mission. Our brand is based on integrity and credibility. Our plan is to grow by welcoming more volunteers for committee positions and organization events. Our fundraising success allows us to meet our strategic plan, vision and mission.

Advocacy, Education, Awareness and Public Outreach

We strive to improve outcomes for the ovarian cancer community by working with policy makers and other ovarian cancer advocates. By building these relationships, we hope to improve the lives of those affected by ovarian cancer.

We believe that the best way to prevent ovarian cancer is to know the symptoms of the disease and what factors put a woman at a higher risk. OCAO places high value on educating women and healthcare providers, which can help save lives until early detection tests are available. We help raise awareness by relaying our message through local campaigns and events, we work to make ovarian cancer and its symptoms known. OCAO identifies the serious nature of ovarian cancer to all women through communication. We utilize mass media outlets to heighten the public’s awareness of our mission. These tools assist with communicating the importance of early detection.

Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio

  • 6724 Perimeter Loop Rd.
    Suite # 129
    Dublin, OH 43017

  • Tel: 614-546-9498
  • Email: info@ocao.org

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These business entities proudly support OCAO by making monetary and in-kind donations as well as helping us support our survivors with quality-of-life endeavors.

GotBins

GotBins provides a hassle-free approach to move, store or organize your life. Their bins are engineered from the ground to keep belongings safe and secure while holding up to 8,000 lbs. of material. Bins come in three different sizes with two week or monthly rental options.

Mark Dantzer Productions

Mark Dantzer, a twenty-year Columbus radio veteran, is the morning host on Mix 107.9, Today’s Best Mix. Mark loves live DJ work and was voted “Best of the Knot” as the #1 Wedding DJ in Columbus for 2010. Mark Dantzer Productions books DJs for weddings, reunions, dances and parties all over Central Ohio.

Matt Vant Photography

Matt Vant’s photography grew out of a childhood hobby he began in the basement of his grandfather’s home in the suburbs of Boston. His skills and his clientele have grown since those early years and his work can now be seen in homes, galleries and cafes throughout the United States, Germany, England and China. The OCAO is proud to have Matt involved as a signature photographer for events like the Strides for Hope 5K.

Sparkly Scrubs Lady

Scrubs are a drab. Sparkly Scrubs takes care of that problem and turns drab into fab! Sparkly Scrubs was created with you in mind so you could look and feel great! While working in the medical field for close to 8 years the company’s founder, Esther Weisman, visited many offices all across the country. No matter what part of the country she was in, Esther heard the same complaint — professionals wishing for more fashionable scrubs. Sparkly Scrubs not only caters to the medical and dental fields, but also carries t-shirts and lounge wear which are perfect for students, soccer moms, birthday girls, and our lovable furry friends! If there is a design that you have your heart set on, just drop Sparkly Scrubs a line! They take special orders at no additional charge! When you’re happy, they’re happy.

The Turban Project

A card is placed with each turban identifying the names of those who have made them and that they are blessed by a priest. Priests from St. Edward, St. Francis, Blessed Sacrament, St. Leonard, or Our Lady of Mount Carmel bless the turbans and then they are distributed to the oncology/radiation centers in Licking County. The turbans are free to the patients. We have also mailed turbans, per request, to patients in Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maine. We have made home visits and workplace visits for the convenience of patients.

This project has been a blessing that has come to a full circle. Not only do the patients know they are loved and being prayed for, the women who sew, embellish and package, the employees/medical team, and the patients have all felt the love and healing of God’s presence in this ministry. “Joyous” was a beautiful word that a receptionist at one of the offices said describes how people react when either wearing or knowing that someone cares enough to do this for them. It also lifts the spirits of those who work with the patients because it is something positive for them to share with their patients. All donations are tax deductible and a receipt can be given for tax purposes. Soft stretchy knit material, fancy pins, buttons, small butterfly and flower pins, etc., are utilized. Some have made donations “in memory of a loved one.”

Kroger Community Rewards

Kroger is committed to helping communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards. Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy… all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card! Want to give back to the OCAO while shopping for groceries? Simply click here to visit the Kroger Community Rewards website and enroll your Kroger Card under “Community Rewards.” You can search for us by “Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio” or our organization number: #80975. Thank you for helping the OCAO!

Make a Noise for Ovarian Cancer

Make a Noise strives to inform and inspire women about ovarian cancer while honoring those that have gone before us, celebrating those who are fighting the battle, and improving the lives of those who are impacted.

Libre, LLC

Libre, LLC is dedicated to providing comfortable and functional clothing for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Libre products are developed with the customer in mind in order to ease the burden of deciding what to wear on treatment days. They are committed to giving back to the foundations they work alongside of to bring an ease to these patients’ lives. Their goal is to make each patient’s life a little more “Libre” (free)!

Omega Tau Zeta at Ohio State University

The primary purpose of Omega Tau Zeta is to promote sisterhood, eternal friendships, scholarship, humanitarianism, and Asian-American awareness in the University and in the community. The sorority encourages women to become future leaders and to set high standards for themselves in all aspects of their lives. The also hold an annual Petal by Petal Charity Banquet to support ovarian cancer awareness. All proceeds from the annual event are donated to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio.

Columbus Running Company

The Columbus Running Company is a walking and running store owned and operated in Columbus, Ohio. They believe running and walking benefit not only the individual but the surrounding community as well. They have a history of supporting local charities and programs and we have proudly utilized them as our race management company for the Strides for Hope 5K Walk/Run.
 

Executive Committee

Beverly P. Epps

President

 Mimi Flynn
 Vice President

 Paula Mahaley
 
Secretary

Jason MayBerry
Treasurer 

Board Members

Angela Bucci, D.O. 
Education Chair 

Kim Britt
5k Chair
Advisors To The Board

Marianne H. Dean
Member at Large

Nan Eckfeld

Founding Member

Kathy Willcox
5K Survivor Coordinator

The Start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness in Central Ohio

The local chapter the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio (OCAO) began as the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) in approximately 1999. One of the initial hallmarks of the earlier fundraising and ovarian cancer awareness campaigns was the 5K Walk for the Whisper. The group also began working with treatment centers, gynecological oncology offices and other various organizations, leaving their mark by providing symptom cards and other educational materials in these offices and at local health fairs.

Over time the name of the annual awareness walk was changed to the Break the Silence 5K Walk/Run. The name change was designed to encourage people to talk about a disease with vague and often silent symptoms. The hardworking women behind the event helped it grow from an average of 500 to 2,000 people coming from all across Ohio.

As Break the Silence grew in size, ovarian cancer awareness also grew and with that, member participation in the NOCC. More women were being diagnosed or had family or friends with the disease. The need to increase awareness and do more at a local level was becoming abundantly clear. However, at the national level, the NOCC had made the decision to stick to the motto “one mission and one voice.” Most money raised at the local level would fund national education and awareness campaigns. This money would not directly help members of the central Ohio community and localized awareness campaigns were not possible.

A New Beginning

In the autumn of 2008, a new board was elected in central Ohio. After countless discussions, the decision was made to break from the NOCC and form a new independent organization. This organization would work at a local level throughout central and southern Ohio to advocate for women with this disease. It would also raise awareness and provide educational programming about ovarian cancer, provide outreach for survivors and their families, and fund national organizations that contributed to ovarian cancer awareness.

The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio (OCAO) was created as the result of this decision. Organized by nine founding members, the goal was to ensure that the voices of Ohio women who were battling this disease and those of the women who had fought and lost would not go unheard.

The initial nervousness that the break from an established national organization might have negative implications for some sponsors and members couldn’t have been further from the truth. Fundraising in 2009 was on target with 2008 and even stormy weather and ensuing downpour couldn’t deter people from participating in the Strides for Hope 5K Walk/Run.

The separation has also enabled the organization to expand contacts and participate in numerous corporate and community health fairs, engage in public speaking and expand relationships with the treatment centers. Many potential sponsors were previously reluctant or even unwilling to donate funds that would not remain in Ohio.

In addition, it has provided an opportunity to bring more partners into the mix. The OCAO has partnered on more than one occasion with the Sisters Network to raise awareness about ovarian and breast cancer, stressing the genetic link between the two. This partnership allows the OCAO to join the Sisters Network and their other aligned organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, and Pan Can, among others, to testify about various health care initiatives and how they impact the cancer community at a state legislative level.

Not wanting to eliminate the ability to work at a national level, the OCAO has become a partner member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. This partnership allows all money raised to remain at a local level but provides the OCAO with national news on ovarian cancer regarding legislative initiatives, research and events. It also allows the OCAO to partner with ovarian cancer organizations across the country.

The Ovarian Cancer of Alliance Today

What began as a small walk at Easton Towne Center has now become a growing regional movement that is recognized throughout the Ohio community. This remarkable growth has been sparked by the hard work of members, volunteers and sponsors to further the cause.

As a way for our supporters to get to know who the OCAO is, we will feature a different member of the OCAO each month with fun facts and information about that person.


 The April/May “Get To Know The OCAO” is:
Toni Sacco

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Toni Sacco was born December 4, 1985 in Philadelphia, PA. She is ring-less and child-less, but has a darling 10 year old cat named Sabrina Fair, who Toni spoils with (fake) pearl cat collars and love. Toni is also in a serious relationship with her loving boyfriend named Scott. Toni has also been in a long term relationship with the art of ballet, having been a “ballerina” since she was a little girl.By day, Toni is a spirited Sales & Marketing professional, and by night she is an exuberant improviser, entertaining folks off the cuff with her witty sense of humor. She finds both of her jobs to be challenging, inspiring, and an absolute joy.

Toni has been with the OCAO for a little over 11 months. She serves on the Board of Directors and is also the Volunteer Coordinator. Toni became a part of the OCAO as an advocate for Ovarian Cancer because of her mother, who is an ovarian cancer survivor of 28 years! Toni knows the value in education and early detection, which is why she is so passionate about supporting this cause. In addition to honoring her mother’s fight, she joined the OCAO to raise awareness, educate, and make a difference in her community.

MORE ABOUT TONI

Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby. I fell in love with the character of Gatsby when I was fourteen, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Hands down Paris, France. And not just for the commercialized romance aspect, although that’s enticing. Some things cannot be explained they can only be felt, and I just feel like a Parisian at heart.
Favorite Movie: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
Favorite Holiday: Halloween – I’ll never turn down the chance to play dress up!
What is the first thing you notice about another person? The first thing I intuitively notice is someone’s body language and the first thing I physically notice is their smile – if they give me one. Both reveal a great deal about the person’s authenticity, and are usually a good indicator of whether my energy will jive with theirs.
Do you have a celebrity crush? Which one? Of course! Sadly they have both passed. God doesn’t make men like Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant anymore.
If you could have any super power, what would it be? I would like the ability to cure cancer or heal broken hearts. I’d prefer both, but I can’t be stingy.
What is the best advice you have ever received from someone? The best advice I ever received was from my mother. I’ve always been exceptionally tiny in size. I’ve always been the runt, and sometimes my size has lent itself to ridicule. I can vividly recall when she dispensed this advice. I may have been four at the time, and I was standing in our living room in tears about something mean someone had said about my size. My mother, a strong-willed Philadelphian, also petite, adapted a “take-no-crap” attitude early on in life. She held my little face and in the sternest of voices told me to never let anyone make me feel small. In that moment, my mother gave me dignity. She taught me to stand up for myself, and despite my physical strength, she instilled in me an indomitable will. My mother is the definition of resilience and perseverance; she is unapologetically herself and infinitely beautiful because of it. I’m proud to be her daughter, and to have inherited her big personality.
What are 3 words that best describe who you are? Grace. Wit. Heart.


The March “Get To Know The OCAO” is:
Tracey Blake

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Tracey was born May 11 in Springfield, Ohio. Tracey is a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. She began volunteering with the OCAO in February, 2013, when she joined the Board of Directors and co-chaired our 5K Walk. Tracey has served as Secretary of the Board of Directors, Chair of the 5K Walk in 2014 and remains a member of the OCAO as the Executive Assistant to the President where her focus will be on our website development; marketing and brand book updating; and, systematizing our communication capabilities. Tracey’s technological skills, communications skills and attention to detail make her a key assistant and development partner for both the President and the future development of OCAO capacity.
We all come to connection with the OCAO because our lives have somehow been touched by this disease known as Ovarian Cancer. Tracey joined the OCAO because she lost her mother to ovarian cancer and wanted to give back. Her hope has been to help educate; to raise awareness of the symptoms of OvCa; to help women understand they can get early detection; and to raise money to help us further our Mission… with the hope and the prayer we will find a cure for this disease. Tracey has been a breath of “I can do that”…to this organization…Her generosity, dedication, caring, and great work have given us legs at the OCAO to further our existence and our strength.

More About Tracey:

Favorite quote: “Stand for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone.”
Favorite movie: “Singin’ in the Rain”
Favorite holiday: “Halloween”
Favorite book: “Outlander by Diana Gabaldon”
Share an interesting fact about yourself: “I was born on Mother’s Day.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
“New Zealand, Ireland, and Scotland are on my bucket list.”
What is the first thing you notice about another person? “Their smile.”
Do you have a celebrity crush? “Which one? LOL”
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? “Marrying the greatest guy! He is my rock.”
If you could have any super power, what would it be? “Healing.”
What is the best advice you have ever received from someone? “Fake it until you make it.”
What is the best advice you can give another person? “Give your time and energy to those who appreciate them.”
What are 3 words that best describe who you are? “Hardworking, dependable, fortunate.”


Our January “Get To Know The OCAO” is:
Nan Eckfeld

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Nan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May of 2002 at stage 1C. She had 3 of the 4 most common symptoms but didn’t know they were ovarian cancer symptoms.  It wasn’t until she had a minor surgery for stress incontinence that the surgeon found a grapefruit-sized tumor during the surgery that she found out she had ovarian cancer. Her tumor was contained, but ruptured during surgery, thus she had to do chemo.

Nan is a 12 1/2 year survivor! She said the most difficult thing about her diagnosis was being told it was not malignant, then two days later being told it was which resulted in her having to go through chemotherapy.During treatment, she suffered from peripheral neuropathy and fatigue. However, with the support of her family and friends she was able to get through her diagnosis.  She says she feels blessed that her disease was discovered at an early stage. The best advice Nan can give those battling through diagnosis and treatment is to associate with upbeat people, keep busy and keep exercising.

More about Nan
Favorite quote?: The Golden Rule  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Favorite holiday?: All of them
Favorite book?: Whatever I’m reading when you ask me.
Share an interesting fact about yourself: I’m not interesting! In 1975 I became a geriatric co-ed by going back for a masters degree at age 40, before women were commonly doing that.  That’s when I became an academic advisor and encouraged older women to get an education and become independent.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?: I have been on 6 of the 7 continents and loved them all – especially Africa. I haven’t been to Antarctica.
What is the first thing you notice about another person?: If they smile or look friendly.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?: My two daughters – wonderful people!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?: Healing!
What are 3 words that best describe who you are?: Caring, Organized, Feminist (and my husband added Determined.) 😉


Our December “Get To Know The OCAO” is:
Dottie Ballard

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Dottie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008 and is a 6 year survivor. She has been an OCAO member  for 5 years, a board member for 1 year and is the chair of the Education Committee. She has two children as well as 2 grandchildren and a 9 year old tabby cat named Battle.

Dottie is the Director of Nursing at The Hand Center on Gemini Place. She had previously worked at an outpatient surgery center for 31 years before taking the position at The Hand Center. She works for a group of well-respected surgeons and works to maintain staff who are dedicated, have a strong work ethic. Her position there has been successful as since this is a small center, her and her fellow employees have learned to wear many hats to get the job done and are able to accomplish anything because they have learned to work as a team.

More about Dottie: 
Full Name: Dottie Jean Ballard
Is there a story behind your name?: I was named after 2 of my mother’s sisters
Favorite Quote: “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.”
Favorite Movie: Somewhere in Time
Favorite Holiday: Christmas
Share an interesting fact about yourself: I hate sand!
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?: My children. I divorced when they were 13 and 16 and although there have been some tough times, they have both become strong, independent adults whom I am very proud of.
What is the best advice you can give another person?: Be true to yourself.
What are 3 words that best describe who you are?: Honest, dependable, witty
What helped you get through your diagnosis?: Support of family and friends.
Any advice for those going through recent diagnosis, treatment, or post-
treatment?
Please contact OCAO so we can help you through this.

Our November “Get To Know The OCAO” is:
Connie Swackhammer

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Connie is an almost 10 year ovarian cancer survivor. She has volunteered with the OCAO for almost 5 years and has been a board member for 1 year.  Connie is married to Larry Swackhammer and has three sons – Jeffrey, Joel and Christian, as well as 5 grandchildren – Emily, Jonah, Connor, Charlotte and Meredith.

Connie is the co-founder of Faithful Forgotten Best Friends (FFBF) – a charitable, non-profit organization which works to improve the quality of life for pets of the homeless and less fortunate through educating their owners and providing pet food, vet care, vaccinations, and spay and neutering assistance. In 2013, Connie was chosen as one of Sunny 95’s Top 20 Outstanding Women for her work with FFBF.

More about Connie: 
Favorite Quote: “At the end of the day, you will not remember the person with the beautiful face, but you will remember the person with the most beautiful heart and soul.”
Favorite Book: “I’m actually writing a book – it’s working title is ‘My name is not Job.'”
Fun Fact: “I’m a mixed media artist and a wanna be a stand-up comedian.”
Travel: “I’d like to go to Ireland to finish research on my genealogy.  I have been working on it for almost ten years now.
Proudest Accomplishment: “My family is first of course – they are amazing and I am so very proud of them. They are my source of joy.  The second proudest accomplishment is co-founding Faithful Forgotten Best Friends (FFBF.) Without FFBF, many pets would not be able to stay with their owners until they get into housing.  These pets are often the last thing these folks have and they mean everything to them.  Helping them is so very rewarding.”
Best advice you could give someone?: “Always be true to yourself.  Don’t settle, compromise or change because someone else thinks you should.  Value yourself and trust your gut.”
Why did you join the OCAO?: “I joined the OCAO because I had ovarian cancer and I wanted to share my story. I tell survivors to not be afraid to ask questions, insist on answers, be your own advocate, and know you can survive this and your life can be very good and meaningful. Cancer does not define you – it’s an illness, not you. And finally attitude is everything! Think strong. Be strong, think positive and it will create a positive atmosphere, and trust your instinct. It is a God given gift that acts as your compass to lead you.”

KROGER COMMUNITY REWARDS

Kroger is committed to helping communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards.

Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy… all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!

Want to give back to the OCAO while shopping for groceries? Simply click here to visit the Kroger Community Rewards website and enroll your Kroger Card under “Community Rewards.”

You can search for us by “Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio” or our organization number: #80975.

Thank you for helping the OCAO!