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City to participate in ‘silent killer’ awareness

Photo by Alison James Mary Ann Clement and Robin Drake, with Mayor David Grissom, accept a resolution recognizing September at Ovarian/Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month.
Photo by Alison James
Mary Ann Clement and Robin Drake, with Mayor David Grissom, accept a resolution recognizing September at Ovarian/Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month.

By Alison James

alison.james@fct.wpengine.com

“What is that for?”

That’s what Mary Ann Clement wants every person to ask when they see teal ribbons adorning city hall next month. She wants a chance to answer the question – the chance to tell people about a silent killer.

Clement shared her story with the Russellville City Council Monday story, a story of fighting ovarian cancer. She said she thought she was the picture of health and couldn’t even wrap her head around her cancer diagnosis when she was first diagnosed two years ago.

“It’s been a battle,” Clement said. “My life completely changed.”

And although Clement has successfully beat ovarian cancer, the battle isn’t over. It’s now a battle to raise awareness.

“Not every cancer is pink,” Clement said. “I never knew there was another color for cancer but pink. I just thought every cancer was pink.”

Realizing that many, like herself, didn’t know much about ovarian and other gynecological cancers, Clement set out to be an advocate.

Known as the silent killer, ovarian cancer affects 22,000 women a year in the United States – 14,000 of whom die from it. “There’s no early detection for it,” Clement said. Visible symptoms are also hard to pinpoint. “It’s up to us to get people aware.”

Robin Drake also spoke of her fight against ovarian cancer, which is ongoing. Drake said she was also amazed to discover she had ovarian cancer, as she experienced no symptoms.

“Normally by the time you develop a symptom, you are already Stage 3 or Stage 4,” Drake said.

Drake and Clement are leading the campaign for teal, backed by Lilies of the Valley support group.

“It’s my goal for me to tell every female from here to Africa about ovarian cancer,” Clement said. “I am all about fighting every color of cancer there is. But right now I just want to start with teal.”

The council adopted a resolution recognizing September as Ovarian/Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month.