AARP Eye Center
On Saturday, June 11th, thousands of teal-clad women, men and children will come together at Denver’s City Park for the 13th annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness benefitting the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA). For survivors who have battled ovarian cancer, this showing of solidarity and support provides hope, inspiration and invaluable connections. Judy Sherman (69), who attended her first Jodi’s Race in 2019 just one month after completing her first round of chemotherapy, recalls the power of the beads. At the Race, each survivor is given a strand of beads for every year of survival since their initial diagnosis. “I looked around and saw all these women with their necks draped in beads,” recalls Sherman. “I walked up to several and asked them if I could touch their beads for luck. It gave me such strength.”
Sherman is eagerly anticipating participating in this year’s Jodi’s Race and has already purchased a teal tutu to wear along with her four strands of beads. Due to COVID precautions and two recurrences of ovarian cancer, she has only been able to participate in the Race virtually for the past two years. During this time, she has remained connected to COCA through the nonprofit’s Nicki’s Circle Support Groups and mentorship programs. “It’s such a powerful community,” states Sherman. “Even if we’re just talking on the phone or meeting via Zoom, you know that these women truly understand what you’re going through and are there to support you however they can.” Sherman utilizes what she’s learned in Nicki’s Circle and in her own experience with ovarian cancer to help newly diagnosed women through COCA’s Peer Support Mentor Group. She looks forward to seeing everyone in person at the Survivor Breakfast, which is a special part of Jodi’s Race, and then walking together.
In addition to offering hope and celebration, Jodi’s Race is both an educational event and a fundraiser for COCA. Because there is no screening test for ovarian cancer, it’s important for women to recognize the most common symptoms ─ bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency. Any symptoms that continue for two weeks or more or recur frequently should be reported to a physician promptly. While the incidence of ovarian cancer increases after age 60, women can be diagnosed with the disease at any age. Funds raised through Jodi’s Race support COCA programs including support groups, individual counseling, financial assistance and navigation, an Ovarian Cancer Resource Guide, comfort kits, educational programs and much more.
In addition to the 5K run/walk and 1-mile walk, which will be emceed by Denver7’s Jaclyn Allen, Jodi’s Race includes a Survivor Breakfast, Family Fun Zone, Expo, Team Village and memorial wall. Furry friends are welcome and can register for a special Jodi’s Race kit, sponsored by VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital. For more information or to register for Jodi’s Race, please visit www.jodisrace.org.