"For eleven years I have told my story, individually and within groups," said Pam Waken of Alpharetta. "I have never let cancer define who I am."
Pam Waken was diagnosed in 2009. "I received my Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA) Bag of Hope right after surgery and when my chemotherapy was just beginning. The Bag of Hope was filled with everything that I needed for my treatments. At the time, I could not even imagine what I would need at chemo, but everything I needed was in that Bag of Hope."
"The blanket was my most favorite item; I always felt protected when I wore it, that blanket was a cloak of love and warmth that I used every day." The Bag of Hope is provided, free of charge to Georgia based, newly-diagnosed ovarian cancer patients and consists of important information about resources and fellowship as well as numerous comfort items such as a blanket, soft and warm socks, and a journal to document the journey.
In the past, Pam has volunteered for Survivors Teaching Students, the Teal Trot, and Teal to Heal, a fashion show and GOCA fundraiser featuring survivor models. "The 2019 Teal to Heal Fashion Show was an invigorating experience for me personally and very liberating for me as a survivor. Vincent Bell, the hairstylist that gifted his time to Tootsies and GOCA that evening challenged me to remove my wig and to be free of the stigma of hair loss, it was something that I had never even imagined doing before. He removed my wig and I felt beautiful and free. It was a huge step in my recovery." Pam's attitude toward life and finding joy in life is amazing; "I am grateful every day, I always finding new ways to be of service to my community, I exercise, I eat healthily and rely on my faith to help me plan for the future. In 2009 Pam co-founded an ovarian cancer support group for survivors and caregivers. She is also exploring more ways that she can help newly diagnosed women find hope as well as new and creative ways to help with GOCA.
The Shaken, Not Stirred Gala has been a huge part of Pam's recovery and is a "magical evening that fills me with excitement, gratitude, and hope." "I love seeing all of my fellow survivors, as well as the generosity of so many people whose charitable giving, allows GOCA to do so much in the community."
The Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance was founded in 1998 by a group of thirteen ovarian cancer survivors to educate Georgia's women, their families, and healthcare providers about the risks, symptoms, and treatments of ovarian cancer. The Shaken, Not Stirred Gala, GOCA's annual fundraiser is coming up on March 14th at Georgia Aquarium and features a culinary offering from the member chefs of the Atlanta Chapter of the Les Dames d'Escoffier International. The evening's celebration highlights the work of GOCA, salutes our survivors and their caregivers, and raises critical funds in support of GOCA's outreach programs and the Bag of Hope.
To join us for more information about the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance annual fundraiser please visit ShakenNotStirredGala.com