Walking against ovarian cancer (5/6/10)

Chisholm’s fund-raiser will continue through May

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Observer staff

Deb Chisholm met Suzi Zetkus in eighth grade. The girls became best friends, and their relationship has endured for 45 years. They’ve weathered all the ups and downs of their teenage and young adult years, supporting each other along the way. But the most recent obstacle facing the now middle-aged Zetkus has become literally the challenge of her life. She has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.


    Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum
The second annual 5K Walk for Ovarian Cancer was held last Saturday in Williston. The event was organized by Williston resident Deb Chisholm (far left), who was joined by (from left) her husband Andrew Beecher and friends Darlene Worth and Kitty Martin in an effort to raise funds and awareness about ovarian cancer research. The group walked in honor of Chisholm’s friend Suzi Zetkus, who has the disease.


    Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum
Chisholm calls her friend to tell her the walk is about to start.

Chisholm, who lives in Williston with her husband Andrew Becher, said her friend was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago. So for the second year in a row, Chisholm has chosen to support her friend not just personally, but also publicly — with a 5-kilometer fund-raising walk in Williston. The walk was held May 1 to coincide with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Revlon Run/Walk For Women in New York City, where Zetkus lives.

According to the EIF Web site, the event was created in 1993 by cancer activist Lilly Tartikoff, Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman and EIF. It has since grown into one of the nation’s largest 5K fund-raising events for women challenged with breast and ovarian cancer.

“Ovarian cancer doesn’t get as much attention or funding for research as other types of cancer,” Chisholm said.

She hopes the walk will not only raise money, but also awareness about the disease.

A small group of walkers joined Chisholm on Saturday morning for the walk from Williston Central School. The group followed the bike path as it looped through Old Stage, Mountain View and North Williston roads and circled back to the school.

Before they set out, Chisholm, sporting a bright teal Ovarian National Cancer Alliance T-shirt, pulled out her cell phone to call Zetkus and let her know she and the group were about to set out and were thinking of her.

Chisholm hopes to raise at least $500, to be used specifically for ovarian cancer research. She will continue raising funds throughout May, and all money raised will be funneled through EIF to the nonprofit Ovarian National Cancer Alliance.

The ONCA Web site says the alliance is the foremost advocate for women with ovarian cancer in the United States. The organization advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices and life-saving treatments.

“Suzi has been the ultimate volunteer and giver to others all her life. To have the opportunity to give back to her doing this in her honor means a lot,” Chisholm said.

To make a tax-deductible donation to Chisholm’s fund-raiser, call her at 878-0462.



• Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women.

• The lifetime risk of developing invasive ovarian cancer is 1 in 71.

• Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are often subtle and easily confused with other conditions.

• The majority of women who develop ovarian cancer have symptoms including bloating, pelvic and abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).

• When the cancer is detected before it has spread from the ovaries, 90 percent of women will survive for more than five years. Only 19 percent of women in the United States are diagnosed at this early stage.

• Factors that increase risk include increasing age, personal or family history of ovarian, breast or colon cancer, and never having been pregnant or given birth to a child.


Source: www.ovariancancer.org