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When Ovarian Cancer Strikes

Honoring a survivor

"Months after the diagnosis, I realized I did have subtle symptoms but I ignored them," admits Michele Helene Piepoli. "Now I always tell women, listen to your body! Be aware of the subtle signs, it is better to investigate than to regret." This is also a motto of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance and survivors everywhere.

Michele was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018. "My navigation nurse sat with me and my daughter and walked me through the entire process, answered all my questions, and most importantly gave me the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance's (GOCA) Bag of Hope."  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.  

Survivors Teaching Students is another GOCA program and introduces medical students to ovarian cancer survivors in a learning environment to help the students understand the patient's perspective and one that interests Michele greatly. "I am very transparent about my diagnosis especially when interacting with women," says Michele. "Initially, I wasn't.  I think I just took some time to digest the diagnosis. I feel strongly about educating future physicians about awareness and offering insight into how they, as doctors,  can be a more positive factor in the lives of their patients."

"Jennifer, my daughter, and Sophia, my 15-year old granddaughter, were and continue to be my inspiration. We are enjoying each day with love and laughter.  We are going to concerts and spending time together."  Michele is currently on immunotherapy and she keeps negativity out of her life. "I enjoy my consulting work and have returned to my profession in a more balanced way."

"I am excited to be attending the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance Shaken, Not Stirred Gala for the first time this year." 

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.