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Ovarian cancer is said to "whisper" because early warning signs are often subtle. According to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, early warning signs of ovarian cancer include "bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and feeling the need to urinate urgently or often."

Blanche West, founder and chairwoman of the River Valley Chapter of the Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition, said her late sister-in-law, Francis Jolly, displayed what she says they now know as "classic symptoms" for two years before being diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in February 2006.

Teal in Tahiti

What: Dinner, dancing, silent auction, jewelry drawing

When: 6-10 p.m. Aug. 16

Where: Fort Smith Convention Center

Tickets: $50

Attire: Tropical

Information: (479) 883-3379 or

West remembers conversations with Jolly in the days before she died in November 2006. West said it was important to Jolly that they make more women aware of the disease and its symptoms. "I don't want what I've gone through to happen to anyone else. We've got to educate people," she t0ld West.

Within the following year, West had established the River Valley Chapter. "That conversation stuck with me." The nonprofit organization's mission is to "raise awareness and provide education about ovarian cancer while supporting newly diagnosed cancer patients, survivors and their families." To that end, the group distributes educational materials, provides guest speakers and distributes new patient totes to women who are newly diagnosed.

The third annual Teal in Tahiti benefit slated for Aug. 16 will help support the chapter's efforts and will include dinner, dancing to live music by Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes, a silent auction and a drawing for jewelry.



NAN Our Town on 08/07/2014

Print Headline: Awareness, education, support group’s mission

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