Republican Women's Group Brings 'Hope' To Victims Of Ovarian Cancer
September 29, 2004
(Columbia, SC) -- The South Carolina Federation of Republican Women (SCFRW) are teaming up with the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation (SCOCF) this Saturday, October 2, 2004 from 11:00 a.m until 1:00 p.m. on the steps of the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina for the Hope Walk For Ovarian Cancer.
LaDonna Ryggs, who serves as the membership chairman for SCFRW, said the group wanted to sponsor an event that would not only increase statewide membership in the GOP women's group by at least ten percent, but also "support a worthy cause."
Ryggs said the decision to join with an organization that fights one of the top five cancer killers of women was not a difficult one to make.
"[Ovarian cancer] is an especially heinous form of cancer because it is not easily detected," Ryggs explained. "Most women who have ovarian cancer get diagnosed with other problems before the doctors realize it is ovarian cancer."
The Republican women want to "raise awareness for this form of cancer" to raise money that will further the "new technology that will help detect the cancer sooner."
"We will have a couple of doctors with us on Saturday to discuss ovarian cancer and earlier detection," Ryggs announced.
Explaining that she did not realize the impact ovarian cancer has had on so many women in South Carolina, Ryggs said most of the people involved in the Hope Walk For Ovarian Cancer "are doing so because they have been touched by the disease in some way."
Watching the way people have rallied around this cause has been "truly touching" to Ryggs.
Janet Rigdon, who serves as the head of SCOCF, said many people may not know it, but September was Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.
"Very few [in the media] are willing to help us get the word out, but I won't stop," Rigdon exclaimed.
She described how "ecstatic" she was to hear the SCFRW wanted to team up with her organization to bring awareness to the "silent killer" known as ovarian cancer.
"Over 55% of those newly diagnosed [with ovarian cancer] will lose the battle due to late stage diagnosis," Rigdon revealed.
As an ovarian cancer survivor for nearly four years, Rigdon said she has been personally touched by the disease because her grandmother died of it as well.
"I thought I was aware and yet I was diagnosed late stage," Rigdon said. "In December 2000, my prognosis was a 25% chance of living 5 years. I am one of the lucky ones that has responded to treatment and have enjoyed two remissions, now of which has been over 24 months."
However, Rigdon added that most "women never come off treatment."
"That my friend is a serious issue, worthy of news coverage," Rigdon stated.
The setting on the steps of the Statehouse was not an accident, Rigdon explained, hoping that it will "get the attention of our politicians" for a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives called "Johanna's Law: The Gynecologic Cancers Education & Awareness Act," or H.R. 3438.
"I was in [Washington] D.C. for an Advocacy Conference in March on Capitol Hill to help raise awareness and ask for their support for this legislation that is crucial to women's health along with increased funding for ovarian cancer thru the Department of Defense and not one of our representatives from SC signed on as a cosponsor to it either," Rigdon lamented, saying it temporarily discouraged her and "took the wind out of my sails."
But Rigdon proclaimed her "sails are full and tall again and they will continue to move this boat until someone listens and eventually someone will."
Success with her group's efforts is defined by Rigdon as saving "just one" woman from being diagnosed with the late stage of ovarian cancer.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson is expected to be in attendance at this event to help kick off the walk at 11:00 a.m. as well as Miss Teen SC.
Registration begins at 10:00 a.m. and the entry fee is $25 which includes a free Hope Walk For Ovarian Cancer T-shirt and certificate of participation. A custom-made elephant pin with the blue ribbon for ovarian cancer is available for $4 each for those who wish to purchase one.
For more information or to donate to this cause, call the Hope Walk Hotline at 1-800-486-2381. All proceeds will go to the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation and are tax deductible contributions.
"The good thing is that the money raised will stay in South Carolina to help fund research, treatments, screenings, education, etc.," Ryggs explained.