This September (National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month), teal ribbons adorn trees in towns and villages across Orange County. Spearheading the local effort are volunteers with the Corinne Feller Memorial Fund. Nicole Feller Lee, the fund’s founder, brought the national Turn The Towns Teal campaign to the village of Montgomery in 2010. Since then, it has grown to encompass eleven municipalities.
Corinne Feller was a life-long Montgomery resident and standout student and athlete at Valley Central High school. After a 10-month battle, Corinne died of ovarian cancer at age 18. Before her passing, she voiced the need for increased awareness about the disease.
“It was so important to Corinne that women be empowered by knowing the symptoms of this disease and supported by knowing that they are not alone,” said Corinne Feller Memorial Fund Founder Nicole Feller Lee. “By tying teal ribbons and handing out awareness materials, our volunteers are doing just that. Early diagnosis is the key to survival, and we encourage anyone who is experiencing symptoms to go to the doctor and discuss their concerns openly.”
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the U.S. There is NO early detection test and the symptoms are subtle and often misdiagnosed which is why knowing the symptoms is so very, very critical. Classic symptoms of ovarian cancer are: pelvic or abdominal pain/discomfort (bloating), vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets, frequency and/or urgency of urination, unexplained changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight gain/loss, ongoing unusual fatigue, back pain, menstrual changes, and pain during intimacy.
Local florists (listed next to each municipality) also volunteered their time to tie the ribbons into elaborate bows to make them attractive and eye-catching. Ribbons are put up just before September 1st and taken down at the end of the month.
Among the municipalities taking part include: Village of Montgomery (Montgomery Florist); Walden (Secret Garden Florist); Maybrook (Lord’s Homestead Florist) and Pine Bush (Hearts and Flowers Florist)
These biodegradable ribbons are to make people aware of ovarian cancer and its often silent symptoms. Volunteers will also spread the word by handing out posters and awareness cards with the symptoms of ovarian cancer to local businesses.
Corinne Feller Memorial Fund Founder Nicole Feller Lee said, “Like most people diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my sister was diagnosed in a late stage of the disease. With early diagnosis, treatment is 90-95 percent effective, but most women aren’t diagnosed until it’s too late. We hope efforts like this will change that.”