On a Mission to OVERRUN Ovarian Cancer
Nothing could have been further from her mind when she heard the news. "My mom has always been the picture of health. She went to the doctor for what she thought was a bladder infection, and within 48 hours, a diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer had turned our worlds upside down," remembers Kelly Cannova of Leawood, KS. Kristi O'Keefe, also of Leawood, had a similar reaction when she received the news, two years earlier, about her sister. "She hadn't been feeling well and went to her doctor for abdominal pain. Within days, she had a confirmed diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer at age 45. We were stunned."
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer are Subtle
Because the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle, and there is no early detection test available, most women are diagnosed at an advanced stage. As soon as she received word of her mom's diagnosis, Kelly went into action. She reached out to The University of Kansas Cancer Center and found that, although they do have researchers dedicated to ovarian cancer, there is little funding for that area. Being a registered nurse, Kelly decided to change that, and put the wheels in motion for the OVERRUN Ovarian Cancer 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk, pledging to raise funds immediately and directly benefit ovarian cancer research. Upon learning of Kristi's sister's diagnosis, she asked Kristi to help.
Dedicated to Changing the Face of Ovarian Cancer
Since then, the two have formed The OVERRUN Ovarian Cancer Foundation (OOCF), a foundation dedicated to changing the face of ovarian cancer by funding much needed research. The majority of the funds raised from the 5K race are pledged to The University of Kansas Cancer Center and their ovarian cancer research efforts, led by Dr. Andy Godwin. Kelly and Kristi met with Dr. Godwin in the early planning stages of the race and were immediately impressed with his knowledge, experience and passion for his work. "Once we visited his lab," says Kelly, "we had no doubt that we were putting our efforts into the right hands." Kristi agrees, "We left energized and determined to make the run succeed."
12 Years Running
And succeed it has! 2023 marks their 12 Year Anniversary Celebration and the race has grown from 700 participants in the first year to over 1200. They have run through sun, rain, and a virtual Covid year in 2020. Kelly and Kristi have been overwhelmed by the amount of support that has shown up for this overlooked and underfunded disease. "We're passionate about making a difference and improving ovarian cancer treatments and outcomes," says Kelly. Adds Kristi, "The women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are doing their parts in fighting this thing. Now it's our turn to do ours." They hope you will join them.
WHAT WE DO
Research. Advocacy. Awareness.
The Majority of funds raised support much needed ovarian cancer research at The University of Kansas Cancer Center through The OVERRUN Ovarian Cancer Fund. We focus on projects relating to better treatment options for women, as well as finding an early detection test.
We provide patient advocacy to ovarian cancer survivors by way of Comfort & Care Bags. When women are diagnosed or in treatment, they may receive an OVERRUN Comfort & Care bag full of items meant to make their treatment time more comfortable.
Ovarian cancer awareness is important for ALL women. We provide information about the subtle signs and symptoms by way of our social media messaging, email blasts, marketing materials, community talks, and our Ovarian Cancer Awareness Campaign. So EVERY woman knows the signs.
A Labor of Love- Our Board
The OVERRUN Ovarian Cancer Board is made up of 4 women who have all been touched by ovarian cancer. The OVERRUN is different from other non-profits in that we are run strictly by volunteers. This means that you can be sure that money raised is going to fulfill our mission. It is truly a labor of love, with A LOT of help from our families, friends and ambassadors.
President- Kelly Cannova
Treasurer- Kristi O'Keefe
Volunteer Coordinator- Rae Latourneau
Community Outreach- Kelley Rast