Published June 14, 2023
We are so fortunate to have Shea on our team! She is not only an ovarian cancer survivor & advocate but also a champion for women and families who need access to better medical care and support. Please read on to learn more about Shea's story.
What has your journey been like with ovarian cancer?
In short, my journey has been simultaneously terrifying and heartening. Being diagnosed with such a terrible disease at age 35 when trying tostart a family was shocking. I had no symptoms, no risk factors, and really knew nothing about ovarian cancer. I have had to learn so much (most of which was quite scary, as the survival rates and treatment options are hard to stomach), and advocate on my own behalf to figure out how best to approach my care. In parallel, I was also navigating fertility preservation options to harvest eggs, and eventually explore surrogacy to allow us to have the family we were hoping for.
While the mortality and medical aspects of my journey were tough, in a lot of ways they were balanced by the incredible ways that humanity showed up for me. The countless ways that people - those that I love and also many I didn't even know- were able to support me were simply astonishing.
What would you like people who are outside of the teal community to know about ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is woefully unknown. This disease is insidious, and often missed until it is too late. We can solve this issue by shining a light on it. If only people knew the symptoms and risk factors. If only those affected by it could know each other. If only healthcare workers could have it front of mind when women show up with bloating and abdominal pain. If only researchers could focus on developing a screening test or more effective treatments. Ovarian cancer needs attention!
How did you get involved with The Teal Foundation and Teal Run?
In an effort to raise awareness in the Bay Area, I had asked San Jose if they would light up City Hall in teal for September's Ovarian Cancer Awareness month last year. When they agreed, I was so excited and wanted to see if there were any other local ovarian cancer organizations who would like to join me to make the most of the opportunity. I reached out to the Teal Foundation and the rest is history!
Why do you think it’s important to be a part of The Teal Run?
What is needed for ovarian cancer in the Bay Area is: Awareness, Community, Research- and The Teal Run provides all three!
In addition to being an ovarian cancer survivor and an incredible advocate, you are so much more! What do you want our community to know about you?
I have so many privileges and advantages, and I truly believe that I am alive today because of them all. I have access to incredible healthcare. I don't think twice about challenging people in positions of power to advocate for my needs. I have friends and family who know things and people who helped me throughout my journey. Now that I am settling into my survivorship, I want to make sure I improve the path that I came on for others. I want to use my experience to improve our system to reduce inequities.
I also love burritos and orangetheory fitness. I have a dog, a toddler, a rockstar husband and a tribe that is unbeaten.