Flag raising brings those affected with ovarian cancer together

HUMBOLDT, NIPAWIN — Arnold Schellenberg travelled almost 200 kilometres to make sure he was at a Humboldt event that honoured those taken – and those who survived – ovarian cancer.

On Mother’s Day in 2011, Schellenberg’s oldest daughter, Marcie Wolfater, died of the disease, leaving behind a husband and a two-year-old daughter.

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The Nipawin-area man, along with his wife Evelyn, were some of the many people who gathered at City Hall the evening of Aug. 3 to raise a flag to mark ovarian cancer awareness month.

“We wanted to come and be a part of that,” Schellenberg said.

“A lot of people aren't aware of ovarian cancer. It's really good to get this out and to get awareness out there.”

The Schellenberg family is planning to go to Saskatoon on Sept. 8 to participate in the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.

As Team Mars – Marcie’s nickname – they have been fundraising for the event. They’ve hosted a slo-pitch tournament. If they raised $3,000, Schellenberg and his son promised to dye their hair teal – the colour representing ovarian cancer – while the women in the family dyed their tips. At $5,000, the men promised to get a brush cut. At $8,000, the men are shaving their heads.

Schellenberg said they’ve almost hit $8,000.

“People are very generous and with just a little bit more generosity, we’ll hit our goal.”

Sheila Moormann organized the event. This is the second year the event has been put on, skipping a year in 2018

“I'm a long time ovarian cancer survivor and it's part of my job, I think, to spread awareness.”

The organizer said the disease is a silent killer, often detected too late. One of the items that research is trying to do is come up with a test that can detect the disease earlier.

Symptoms of the disease can include increased abdominal size or persistent bloating; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; pain in the pelvic or abdominal areas; and more frequent or urgent desire to pee. These symptoms alone don’t necessarily mean a woman has the disease, but Ovarian Cancer Canada encourages people to take note if they are new, persistent and frequent.

“I really want women to know their bodies and to go to a doctor if anything changes,” Moormann said. “A woman knows her body the best. If your doctor doesn't listen, then go to another one until somebody listens.”

For those diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Moormann encourages them to reach out.

“There's many people out there who are going through the same thing, especially on social media. It's really phenomenal.”

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