Many will remember Rosemary Crisp as a lively mother of six children and 17 grandchildren. They’ll remember her generosity and her zest for life. They’ll remember that she loved to shop and that she adored her family.
Her children will remember her for all of the patience, gentleness, and compassion she bestowed on them as they were growing up. But all will remember Rosemary for her courage—her courage that outlived stage 4 ovarian cancer for 12 long years.
When I interviewed Rosemary’s daughter, Cara Sims, I expected to talk about the legacy that her mother left behind. And although that was certainly important, Cara, like her mother, had a bigger vision. She wanted to make sure that all women were educated on the warning signs of ovarian cancer before being diagnosed in the late stages of the disease.
After a casual dinner with a group of girlfriends, Cara realized in that conversation that her friends didn’t know a thing about ovarian cancer—not the warning signs and symptoms, not even the color of the awareness ribbon (which is teal). It amazed her to think of how unaware even a group of educated women in her immediate circle of friends were about a disease that takes the lives of 1 in 55 women.
So rather than sit around and wait for someone else to begin building awareness among women, Cara chose to start with her own circle of friends. It was important to Cara to get the facts in front of these women, but she knew she had to do it in a way that would engage the women, rather than bore them.
Having recently purchased a “party planner” at a local fundraiser, Cara found the perfect use for it. She would throw a fabulous, girls’ night out event at Maiden Alley Cinema in downtown Paducah.
Complete with a cocktail party and a showing of the movie, Steel Magnolias, Cara invited a little over 100 ladies whom she knew would help in her grass roots efforts to spread the word about ovarian cancer.
The event was sprinkled with facts about this disease commonly referred to as “the silent killer.” With some guidance from a young friend, Katie Paxton, she created a simple video to be aired just before Steel Magnolias was shown, in which a woman battling the disease shared her story in a very personal way.
The event was a great success. Nearly 100 women turned out and left with a goody bag filled with items that would help spread awareness to women outside the walls of the theater that night.
Cara is just one woman, but her passion led her to educate at least 100 women.
“Women tend to become so preoccupied with the busyness of life that they don’t pay attention to what their bodies are trying to tell them,” said Cara. “Ovarian Cancer is the silent killer. It whispers, so listen.”
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
Each year 20,000 women are diagnosed and more than 15,ooo of those women will die from the disease.
Symptoms to look for include:
- Bloating Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
- Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
- Upset stomach or heartburn
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Constipation or menstrual changes
If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see your physician. For more information on the disease go to www.ovarian.org.