The Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA) began its annual fundraising walk in 2002 and over the years it has been held at various locations across metro Atlanta. In its inaugural year, the GOCA Walk was held at Centennial Park and has had many celebrated walk routes since then. Regardless of its location, the GOCA Walk, rebranded as the “Teal Trot” in 2014, has always been a hallmark fundraising, advocacy, and community empowerment event for GOCA and the ovarian cancer community. This year’s Teal Trot is being held at Chastain Park on September 18.
Sheena Virji of Smyrna lost her mother to ovarian cancer on June 24, 2016 after a brutal 159 days of tests, doctor visits, hospital stays, and chemo appointments. “I remember it like it was yesterday,’ Said Sheena, “I guess that is what happens with life changing events, right?” A short five months after Sheena’s mother passed the family organized Team Freda V in honor of their mother.
“I needed something to inspire me, I needed to see grief beyond me, and I needed to turn my grief into positivity,” said Sheena. With well over 50 participants all wearing teal t-shirts Team Freda V was able to raise money for ovarian cancer awareness and they celebrated their successes with a teal balloon release the day of the Teal Trot.
Teal is the color associated with the ovarian cancer community, and Chastain Park will be a sea of teal on September 18. Teal T-shirts sporting walk team names are adorned with feather boas, sashes, banners, shoes, balloons, streamers and topped with tiaras.
“Participating in the Teal Trot gives me hope – we have some truly amazing women out there and walking besides them gives me hope,” says Sheena, “they are fighters and the Teal Trot inspires me to strive for wellness.” The Teat Trot is an emotional and inspiring event and for Sheena, it helps her feel closer to her mom and helps to honor her memory. This year Sheena’s team will be a much smaller and more intimate family endeavor that will include a few close friends all walking together in memory of Freda Virji.
The Teal Trot is designed for walkers and runners at various paces. Whether you enjoy a casual walk or the very competitive race component, this survivor-forward facing event was designed to not only gather us in remembrance those who are no longer with us, but to honor and recognize all those women, their families, caregivers, and all who have all been affected by ovarian cancer.
Sheena was able to talk with her doctor about her family history; her mom is one of seven sisters and five of them have had either breast or ovarian cancer. “I was able to get in front of my health,” saysSheena, “So my mom saved my life and through my mom I want to help educate and bring awareness to ovarian cancer.”
Throughout its history the Teal Trot, Georgia’s largest ovarian cancer awareness event, has had over 25,000 participants and has raised $1.7 million dollars in support of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance’s mission of education and awareness throughout Georgia.
For more information about the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance or the Teal Trot please visit GAOvarianCancer.org