• Kathryn Harper

GirlSTRONG Nation Building Community by Ovarian Cancer Insitute


Girl Strong: Building Community

As I sit here writing this blog post, I think about the meaning of Girl Strong (GS). What is it? What does it DO, exactly? Is it a couple ladies trying to start a side hustle and sell some t-shirts for some extra spending cash?

NO.

Girl Strong is about women supporting each other. CREATING COMMUNITY. This does not mean that GS is this “flowers and sunshine” community where the door is always open for you tocry on someone’s shoulder. That could be part of it. But the GS community is strong, bold, educational, and philanthropic. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT one of these pink pu**y hat-wearing feminists who needs a safe space to tell you about how oppressed we women are today and that I have this list of demands to feel equal to men. No. I believe that life is tough… for everyone. Get crack’n on stiffening that upper lip, pal, because nothing in life is easy. And we all need community to get through it.

I am the Director of the Ovarian Cancer Institute (OCI) and have known your GS leader, Lisa Crossley, for many years through our love of ballroom dancing. Lisa came to me one day with the great idea of combining GS’s efforts to support OCI through a fundraising 5k. Being the fundraiser that I am, I thought “What a great idea! Thank you for raising money for me! I could use all the help I could get.” But what I didn’t realize is that this partnership was greater than money (which is still very worthy). It has created an opportunity for us to build and combine our communities. Ovarian cancer is known as the “silent killer.” Why? Because the signs and symptoms are vague, and nobody knows what they are. So, what if we created a community of women who could learn the signs and symptoms, be able to spot them in other people, and tell other women about what to look for? Could that save lives? IT ALREADY HAS! I’ve met women who learned about ovarian cancer at events and through that education and support they were able to catch it in their own body early. THIS is the impact of community.

I recently had lunch with a very good, old friend (old to me, not old in age) who I use to see every week at bible study. I am no longer a part of that group and seeing her takes much more effort now. I was telling her some challenges I was facing, assuming she would think I was crazy because I felt so unique in my problem. She started to tell me how she had gone through the same things and then reminded me “We have to have community to maintain perspective and learn.” Eurika! She said something so simple, that I already knew, yet I needed to be reminded of it. It’s now my turn to be a part of the change and create a community of women who are educated about ovarian cancer and know what questions to ask their doctor. I’ve seen far too many women tell me that they thought they were checked for ovarian cancer in their annual exam. Wake up ladies! You’re not! So, it’s up to us to create the community and spread the word.

Tribe, small group, book club. Whatever you want to call it, be a part of it! We all need a little boost to get through this crazy life.

Join the Girl Strong Nation and the Ovarian Cancer Institute for our annual fundraising 5k on Saturday, May 18th to connect. We can’t wait to meet you!

Ovarian cancer symptoms include:

• Cramping abdominal pain

• Bloating

• Fatigue

• Loss of appetite

• Urinary and bowel discomfort

#girlstrongnation #holidaysseason #womenshealth #OvarianCancerInsitute #cancer #health

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