Photo credit: Hamptons Monthly
Researchers worldwide have been diligently conducting as many studies as possible trying to find treatments and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer. However, there is a major problem with conducting cancer research: It’s expensive. In order to conduct these studies researchers often need access to biological materials and state of the art medical equipment. On top of that they often have to spend a significant amount on paying patent owners and other legal fees to ensure that they can perform their research without getting into legal trouble.
The good news is that numerous organizations regularly hold fundraisers to support cancer research studies that could hold the key to finding a cure. One such organization is the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA).
What they do
According to the organization’s website, the OCRFA seeks to “promote, advocate for and support scientific research as it relates to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure for ovarian cancer; to provide education about ovarian cancer; to promote, advocate for and provide supportive services to persons affected by ovarian cancer; and to foster alliances to further those purposes”. In the past, the OCRFA’s fundraising efforts have been phenomenal. They are consistently the number one non-government funder of Ovarian cancer research, and have contributed more than 75 million dollars towards the search for a cure. Additionally, OCRFA lobbies local, state, and federal governments towards allocating more resources for cancer research and ensuring cancer patients get the treatments they need. If you are interested in helping and getting involved with the OCRFA, go here.
One of the most popular events that OCRFA holds is their annual Super Saturday. The event takes place in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York. The event has a group of high end fashion designers set up booths which offer their latest designs. As many may know, fashion in itself can be quite expensive. However, all of these designers give all their proceeds to the OCRFA in order to contribute towards ovarian cancer research. Famous designers like Edie Parker, Karl Lagerfeld, Caroline Herrera, Alice and Olivia, Ramy Brook, and more donated racks and racks of clothing towards the fundraiser. Thousands of philanthropic shoppers come to the event every year to spend some cash towards a great cause. Many of the shoppers searched for clothes for themselves, their children, their spouse, and even birthday gifts for friends and family. When all was said and done, the event raised over 3 million dollars in just one day! This and other OCRFA events are very important in getting researchers the funding they need to work on treatments and cures for this terrible disease.
What Else Can We Do?
While the Super Saturday event was great, not everyone can spend the money to fly out to New York and go to these events. Don’t fret! There are a ton of things you can do to benefit ovarian cancer patients, many of which don’t even involve spending cash. These suggestions come straight from the OCRFA, and you can click on the link in the first paragraph to learn more on how you can help.
- Donate - You don’t have to donate hundreds of dollars to make a difference. Even as much as 25 dollars per month is enough to really help ovarian cancer research, and can also be used to help ovarian cancer patients and their families with things like food and medical costs.
- Sharing your story - If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and/or has survived the disease, you can share your story with other patients and show support and solidarity for those still fighting. Many people when reading these stories become more invested in stopping the disease and are more willing to donate time or money towards that cause. If you have a loved one that you want to honor and remember, this is a great way to do that as well.
- Hold your own fundraisers - You don’t need to get high end fashion designers to hold a fundraising event. Dances, dinner parties, art galleries, even bake sales can be a great way to raise a few hundred bucks for your local cancer research organizations. Just make sure that your guests and attendees know that all of their money will go towards a great cause. This is also a great time to raise awareness, so it would be a good idea to give survivor’s and current patients a platform to describe their struggles and share their stories.
- Matching gifts - Did you know that many employers will match their employee’s donations to charitable causes? Contact your employer’s HR department and ask if they have a matching gifts program. If they do, your donations could be doubled or even tripled. You could even go the extra mile and ask for your employer to become a corporate partner with the OCRFA or other ovarian cancer advocate groups. You never know, your employer might be on the lookout for new causes for them to support. You could always argue that it’s a great PR opportunity as well…
- Educational programs - If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor or caregiver, they can be trained to give presentations to future health professionals. These presentations are a great way to give students an idea of what it is like to suffer from ovarian cancer, and give them some important insights on how to care for patients suffering from the disease.
- Survivor volunteers - Many ovarian cancer organizations run volunteer programs that pair ovarian cancer survivors with recently diagnosed patients. These volunteers provide emotional support and guidance to the new patients, giving them information on how to live more comfortably and how to deal with the diagnosis. Having a mentor that has survived the disease often gives patients inspiration and hope that they can get through it as well.
- Other volunteer opportunities - You don’t need to be an ovarian cancer survivor to volunteer. Many organizations have volunteers to help run events, hand out informational pamphlets, and even help around the office. Even giving an hour or two a week of your time can be incredibly helpful to these organizations, and can give them more time to focus on the ultimate goal of helping cancer patients and their loved ones.
- Advocacy - Petitioning your local, state, and federal governments can help protect patients and get them the care they need. While donations and non-government fundraising is great, the government still provides a bulk of the funds used in cancer research. The best way to ensure this happens is to call and email your local officials letting them know this is an issue you care about, and that they should work to ensure patient research gets the funding it so desperately needs.
- Be there - The biggest thing you can do for anyone you know suffering from cancer is to be there for them. Giving them emotional support, bringing them their favorite foods, taking them out for a night on the town, etc. It is hard enough to be living with a horrible disease, so anything that you can do to make their lives easier and show that you care for them is something you should be doing.
Ovarian cancer is a terrible disease that makes life very hard for patients and their loved ones. It is important that research is done on treatment options and potential cures for ovarian cancer, and they only way that can happen is if there is sufficient funding. Organizations like the ORCFA are instrumental in ensuring that researchers get the funding they need, and with just a few dollars or hours of your time you can help them make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.