Runsi Sen was inspired by her mother Atashi’s battle with ovarian cancer to make a difference in the lives of women all over the world. Like many women, Atashi was diagnosed when her disease was already advanced, and she passed away within a year. “Even her physicians didn’t think the symptoms were anything to worry about,” recalls Runsi. “Having lived through that journey with my beloved mother, I wanted to make every woman aware of the symptoms so they don’t face the same consequences.” So what did she do? She started an organization called Ovarcome as a tribute to her wonderful mother.
Runsi’s mother lived in India at the time of her diagnosis. “The health care system is very different,” notes Runsi. “Many women succumb to this disease without ever being treated.” Her mother’s experience led to a three-fold mission for Ovarcome: to raise global awareness, to fund research in search of a cure, and to provide financial support to underprivileged women in the U.S. as well as developing nations in their valiant fight against ovarian cancer.
Ovarcome launched in February 2012. Ovarcome’s dream is to help create a world that is free from the scourge of cancer. Their vision is to be the leading global non-profit organization helping woman overcome ovarian cancer and celebrate life. The organization has brought together physicians, oncologists, industry experts, social workers and successful entrepreneurs across the world to grow this organization on a global scale.
Ovarcome hosts several educational outreach events throughout the year. These events bring together researchers and clinicians with survivors, families, and caregivers to impart knowledge on the latest diagnosis, treatments, and lifestyle changes in overcoming women’s cancers.
Along with this knowledge, Ovarcome provides a foundation of support for many of these women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. OvarCare is a financial support program offered by Ovarcome for ovarian cancer patients in active treatment. Via the OvarCare program, Ovarcome supports these women as they fight their battle against this terrible disease. Their care package helps the survivors take care of daily needs as they undergo treatment while feeling relaxed, peaceful, calm, and beautiful. More than 80 women have been helped via the OvarCare program nationally and internationally, since the program launched in January, 2014.
|Ovarcome also awards grants for breakthrough ovarian cancer research to impact early detection, novel treatments, and patient survival. Since inception, they have awarded six research grants to scientists working on Early Detection for ovarian cancer.|
|Ovarcome’s outreach doesn’t end there. Ovarcome partners with local organizations in India and Africa to distribute awareness postcards to hundreds of women and families. Their representatives and on-site volunteers educate women living in those parts of the world about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and discuss treatment options with them. Similar programs are being planned in the future in other underserved regions of the world impacted by the incidence of ovarian and other women’s cancers.
Ovarcome also offers financial grants for treatment support via their partner hospitals in India. These grants are provided to underprivileged women in India to support multiple rounds of chemotherapy treatment in direct partnership with well-renowned hospitals. In India, underprivileged women often subsist on less than $100 per month, and the cost of chemotherapy in subsidized hospitals can be around $500, depending on the round and stage of treatment.
|Ovarcome also conducts physician led workshops regarding women’s cancers (ovarian, breast and cervical) in rural areas of India to educate on early detection of symptoms, prevention and screening techniques. HPV vaccination camps are being planned in the future to address the rising incidence of cervical cancer in India.
Ovarcome also hosts fundraisers to support its several programs and services. Their first fundraiser, held in late April 2012, was a Mother’s Day shopping and food event. This year, Ovarcome is hosting its 3rd Annual Gala in honor of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Their Gala, Ovar the Moon: Goes Gatsby! will be hosted on May 21, 2016. Dr. Margaret Foti, CEO of American Association for Cancer Research is the honoree and keynote speaker.
The beauty in Ovarcome does not solely lie in their efforts towards providing knowledge and support for women across world. The beauty in Ovarcome is giving women an answer to their biggest questions: “Can I do this?”, “Will I get through this?”, and “Will I be okay?” The answer to all of those questions is, “Yes”. Ovarcome provides more options and opportunities for women to fight this illness and to overcome succumbing to their ailments. Having organizations like Ovarcome available is what drives several women to keep going and to never give up on the fact that tomorrow is a brand new day. A brand new day to keep saying, “Yes, I can do this. Overcoming Cancer: Celebrating Life!”
Ovarcome has accomplished a great deal since it was established in 2012. Runsi continues to be busy planning for the years ahead. As Runsi notes, “We want to support and save every woman we can. Our dream is a world free from the scourge of cancer.”
Click here to learn more about Ovarcome including more details on the Ovar the Moon: A Great Gatsby Gala.
With input from Jessica T. Brown