Laura’s Legacy: A Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research

Health

I always thought I would leave this world before my two daughters. I never imagined that my daughter, Laura, would give me such a valuable cause to support as part of her legacy. But what a gift! It’s something positive to come out of such a negative experience.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Laura was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 24. She received her diagnosis right in the midst of planning her wedding. She had been experiencing the subtle signs of ovarian cancer for several years but neither she nor I were aware of all symptoms of this terrible form of cancer. Read more about ovarian cancer symptoms and risk factors.

Laura decided to fight as long and as hard as she could. Because her type of ovarian cancer was rare and aggressive, the normal treatment options with chemo were not working. Laura agreed to participate in several clinical trials, some involving experimental chemo approaches and various pharmaceuticals. She would always say, “If it doesn’t help me, maybe it will help someone else.” Her battle lasted 15 long months.

When Dreams Become Reality

A few weeks before her death, Laura and her dad discussed the formation of a foundation to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and fund research for early detection tests. We came to realize how little is known about ovarian cancer among females of all ages and how early detection is key to survival. Laura was involved in establishing the Laura Crandall Brown Ovarian Cancer Foundation. The foundation was officially formed in January 2010 to realize one of Laura’s final wishes.

So many our family members and friends who had wanted to help Laura in some way during her journey eagerly came forward to help us get the foundation up and going. One of Laura’s cousins was talking about the foundation and the need to find a way to raise funding for research. They discussed the success of many 5K runs in the Birmingham area. She shared the idea with the foundation’s board and as a result, the first Head Over Teal 5K Run/Walk and Family Fun Day was held in September 2010. Now in its fourth year, the event has grown tremendously and more ovarian cancer survivors and their families have joined the Foundation board and the event planning committee.

Over the past three years, this event has helped raise enough funds to give three $50,000 research grants for early detection ovarian cancer screenings to three health care institutions, including Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Mitchell Cancer Institute at the University of South Alabama and UAB.

Head Over Teal 5K Information

This year’s Head Over Teal event will again be at The Preserve in Hoover on Saturday, September 14 at 8am. More information about registration and ways to donate can be found at thinkoflaura.org. This event is a wonderful opportunity to support the community, fund critical research and have with your family. I’m grateful to contribute in such a positive way in loving memory of Laura.

by Cecilia Crandall
Photo courtesy of Angela Karen Photography

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