SOURCE: Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

April 18, 2016 13:10 ET

Family to Honor Parents in a Double Celebration at Jodi's Race for Awareness on June 11

Children Plan an Event to Celebrate Parents' 60th Wedding Anniversary and Mother's 10-Year Anniversary as an Ovarian Cancer Survivor

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Apr 18, 2016) - Saturday, June 11, 2016 will be extra special for Ruth and Jess Gaytan of Westminster. Their children have planned a multi-generational celebration at the 7th Annual Jodi's Race for Awareness in Denver's City Park to celebrate the couple's 60th wedding anniversary and Ruth's 10-year anniversary as an ovarian cancer survivor. Their Jodi's Race team will include many of the Gaytans' grandchildren and great grandchildren, in addition to the Gaytans' four adult children.

Debbie Nesbitt, one of the Gaytans' three daughters, was inspired to form a team after learning about the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA) and Jodi's Race for Awareness from a patient at Aspen Family Care in Highlands Ranch, where she is a medical assistant. When the gentleman mentioned his mother-in-law's ovarian cancer and Nesbitt told him that her mother is a 10-year survivor, he encouraged her to look up the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance on the Internet (http://colo-ovariancancer.org/).

For Nesbitt, putting together a family team to participate in the COCA fundraiser was the perfect way to celebrate her parents' 60th wedding anniversary, which also falls on June 11th. Nesbitt said Gaytan is excited about walking in Jodi's Race because the event promotes awareness of ovarian cancer, the fifth most common cancer among females in the United States and the deadliest gynecologic cancer, and raises funds to support people affected by the disease. She also is looking forward to attending the pre-race Survivors Breakfast, where she'll collect 10 strands of colorful beads -- one for every year of survival -- and a goody bag with special survivor gifts.

"We are so blessed to still have her in our life," Nesbitt said about her mother, who will turn 78 on May 3. Recounting her mom's many accomplishments, which include raising four children who were taught a strong work ethic through their mother's example, and ongoing volunteer activities, Nesbitt proudly stated, "She's an inspiration to us all."

Like many women who experience ovarian cancer, Gaytan started feeling ill several months before a doctor accurately identified the problem. Fortunately for Gaytan, the physician she consulted was familiar with ovarian cancer and ordered an ultrasound. The diagnosis of Stage III ovarian cancer was followed by surgery and six months of chemotherapy.

Nesbitt said she is not aware of any family history of ovarian cancer. However, she and her sisters, Benita and Rose, make sure they get regular checkups. The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency. An annual gynecological exam does not check for this cancer and there is no specific screening test for ovarian cancer so being able to recognize the symptoms, leading to early detection, is critical to saving lives.

On June 11, after Jodi's Race, the Gaytan family plans to celebrate Ruth and Jess at lunch in downtown Denver. Like any couple who has shared a long marriage, the Gaytans have had their share of sadness and triumphs. Chief among these triumphs is Ruth's successful battle with ovarian cancer 10 years ago. The 10-year cancer anniversary makes the 60th wedding anniversary even sweeter because only 45% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer make it past five years -- a statistic that Gaytan and the other participants in the Race hope to change.

"The anniversary lunch downtown is a long-standing tradition for our family," Nesbitt explained. "We just feel so fortunate that mom's treatment was successful and are thrilled to expand this year's celebration to include Jodi's Race and all the other wonderful women who have been touched by ovarian cancer."

For every woman, surviving ovarian cancer is worthy of celebration. Nesbitt intends to continue participating in the annual Jodi's Race (http://colo-ovariancancer.org/jodisraceforawareness) and to proactively share information about ovarian cancer and COCA at work and elsewhere.

Registration for the 2016 Jodi's Race for Awareness is underway at www.jodisrace.org. To learn more about COCA and its programs, visit www.colo-ovariancancer.org.