By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Teal colored ribbons fill Michigan Avenue in downtown west Dearborn to inform people about ovarian cancer symptoms.
For the third year the Michigan Ovarian Alliance has placed the ribbons in the city with the help of the Turn The Town Teal campaign.
“We provide the ribbons for the communities,” Michigan Ovarian Alliance President and Co-Founder Pam Dahlmann said. “There are 50 cities that participate in Michigan.”
Between her background as a registered nurse and losing her mother and grandmother, Dahlmann has a passion for the campaign.
“From the 10 years I’ve lost my mother and grandmother there is still no diagnostics test,” she said. “The campaign as a way to raise awareness to not only women, but men also because anyone that knows the symptoms can tell their family members to get checked out.”
Potential symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, gastrointestinal upsets, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, back pain, menstrual changes, pain during intimacy, unusual fatigue, urinary symptoms and unexplained changes in bowel habits or weight gain and loss.
Dearborn became involved with the Turn The Town Teal campaign after a volunteer affected by ovarian cancer set the wheels in motion to collaborate with the organization.
“We provide the visual and hope to capture the attention of people,” Turn The Town Teal President Jane MacNeal said. “It’s important because the signs of ovarian cancer are very subtle.”
Cities in all 50 states participate in placing ribbons during September as observation of Ovarian Cancer Month.
The campaign started six years ago when MacNeal’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and wanted to bring attention to it.
“Everyone should know the symptoms, not just women,” she said. “With all the medical advances we have there is still no early detection tests for ovarian cancer.”
The teal ribbons will hang on light poles along Michigan Avenue in downtown west Dearborn until the end of the month.
They are printed with “A national awareness campaign for ovarian cancer,” “Know the symptoms. The silent disease” and the campaign’s website, www.turnthetownsteal.org.
For more information on the Michigan Ovarian Alliance go to www.mioca.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at email@example.com.)