You may have been driving around Stow and wondered: Who has been tying all those teal ribbons on the trees at City Hall, the library, a few parks and private homes and why? The mystery has been solved.
Julie Nawrocky Reis, 33, is doing it in celebratory fashion and to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, a disease that could have taken her from her husband Clint and their two children, now 5 and 2.
“It happened quite by accident,” Reis said of the February diagnosis.
“I was on the floor, doing exercise,” having finally decided to do something about her post-baby weight, and she felt something pop in her lower stomach.
“I had cysts before, so I thought that this was what it was. But a week later, I was feeling a little bloated … I figured I better check it out … My OB-GYN said she could feel the mass, a large tumor.”
A week later, she had an ultrasound, and “I knew something was wrong by the way the technician was acting,” Julie said. “She was really quiet. Then I could see her meeting with the doctor and they were all looking at me and my husband” as they sat in the waiting room.
Reis was referred to a gynecologist/oncologist, who performed a hysterectomy, removed the large tumor (16 by 18 centimeters) which was cancerous, a couple of other benign tumors from the other ovary and some lymph nodes. “If I hadn’t been exercising and aware of my body, I would have never gone to the doctor, and the cancer — which was determined ‘very aggressive’ — would not have been found.”
Determined to make something good of what happened to her, Reis is spreading awareness via her Turn the Town Teal campaign, and offering ovarian cancer symptom cards at the library and City Hall.
Her message? If you experience these symptoms, get to a doctor fast: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, urinary symptoms like increased frequency or urgency, pain during sex, unusual fatigue, or menstrual changes.
Be persistent with your doctor, urged Julie, who is cancer-free after six rounds of chemotherapy.
“It’s been an emotional and a physical journey. But I was fortunate to have fantastic care,” Reis said. “I’m determined to have something good come out of this.”
Reis said she’s found considerable comfort from attending a support group for gynecologic cancers at Stewart’s Caring Place and would recommend that to others.
Interested in donating to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance? Please do so at www.ovariancancer.org.
Check out Julie Reis’ blog at www.carepages.com/ carepages/WhatJust HappenedHere (you must join the site to have access to the blog).
Benefit walk in Akron
A gentle reminder that the “Walk to D’Feet ALS” (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is planned for 10 a.m. Sept. 16 at Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros in downtown Akron. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
A number of families touched by this devastating neuromuscular disease, for which there is no cure, will be front and center.
ALS patient Gretchen Freund, 36, of New Franklin will be alongside her mother, Judi Loomis, as captains of Team Gretchen. Both have been in the vanguard of advocacy for research.
To support the cause, visit http://webnoh.alsa.org. You may join Team Gretchen or others. For more information, please call Judi Loomis at 330-882-0503. All checks should be made payable to the ALS Association, and reference the team you’re supporting.
‘Dog ’n’ Suds’ at Lock 3
The Safety Forces Chaplaincy Center is hosting its fourth annual “Dog ’n’ Suds” benefit from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Lock 3 in downtown Akron.
The $10 admission includes live music, all-you-can-eat hot dogs, two drink tickets and a raffle ticket for door prizes. Raffle tickets, also $10, will give you a chance to win a 14-foot Rogue River TK canoe, two life jackets, two wood paddles, two fishing rods and antique lures.
The Safety Forces Chaplaincy Center provides free confidential assistance for Summit County safety personnel: counseling, support, education and law enforcement/safety forces advocacy. The center also is home base for ASSIST 77, Critical Incident Stress Management Team.
Tickets, available at the door, also can be purchased in advance by calling 330-376-0040.
Free emergency training
Mark your calendars for Sept. 22 for “Save-a-Life Saturday,” when the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage counties and Akron General Medical Center team up to offer free emergency response training.
Register by calling 330-344-2462. More information is available by visiting www.summitcounty.redcross.org.
The training, which includes hands-on CPR, using an AED (automated external defibrillator) and recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest, is expected to run 45 minutes to an hour, led by a Red Cross instructor and staff from Akron General’s Heart and Vascular Center.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, striking more than 300,000 victims each year — of which less than 5 percent survive,” said Jim Gosky, spokesman for Akron General, and Michael Taylor, spokesman for the Red Cross, in a statement. Studies show that rate could be improved if more people were trained to help.
Here are the times and locations:
• 9 and 10 a.m., Akron General Health and Wellness Center, Green, 1940 Town Park Blvd., Uniontown.
• 11 a.m. and noon, Akron General Health and Wellness Center, West, 4125 Medina Road, Akron.
• 1 and 2 p.m., American Red Cross, 501 W. Market St., Akron.
• 3 and 4 p.m., Akron General Health and Wellness Center, North, 4300 Allen Road, Stow.
Garage sale to aid family
Pat and Ron Halvorson of Green are so moved by the journey Bobby and Wendy Wilson of New Franklin have been on with their daughter Mia that they’ve decided to host a garage sale to help the family of six, who spent the first year of Mia’s life at a hospital in Michigan.
“Mia was born with an extremely rare congenital heart defect called Ebstein’s anomaly,” Ron Halvorson said. Please visit www.miasbigheart.com to read more.
The garage sale will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at 1373 Medley Drive, Green. Follow the yellow signs.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.