You've probably seen the large bright teal ribbons in downtown Los Gatos along University Avenue and wondered what they represented.
Los Gatos resident Meghan Maynard is "Turning the Town Teal" to raise awareness about ovarian cancer.
Her effort is part of the national campaign titled, Turn the Town Teal, that began in New Jersey and whose purpose is to promote awareness about the disease and its silent symptoms.
Volunteers like Maynard tie ribbons throughout town centers and hand out symptom cards during the month of September which is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The disease has personally impacted Maynard's family. Her mother, Pat Maynard, 78, was diagnosed in 2009 with what she calls a "horrible cancer" and two of Pat's best friends died from the disease.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women. It causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer, according to medical sources.
"We are hoping to help others to avoid it. Most symptoms go unnoticed and the cancer takes lives quickly if undiagnosed," Maynard said.
If detected in its early stages, the survival rate can be 90 to 95 percent, which is why her month-long awareness campaign is important. "It's not about raising money, it's more about awareness for women."
Maynard said she and several Los Gatos friends put up the ribbons on Sept. 1 and will leave them attached to trees and light posts until the end of the month.
Maynard also spearheaded the awareness campaign last year. The month-long effort is different than ovarian cancer research fundraisers, she explained.
Maynard thanked Los Gatos residents Gloria Martinez Sr., Gloria Martinez Jr. and JoAnn Richardson for making the bio-degradable teal ribbons adorning the downtown area.
Other events related to ovarian cancer research, awareness and fundraising include:
- Toasting to Teal, 4:30-7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, Saratoga Country Club, 21990 Prospect Rd., Saratoga. Event will help raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. There will be a silent auction and fashion show in memory of Margaret Harrison. All proceeds benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Tickets are $95.
- Toasting to Teal: Ovarian Cancer lecture, 12:30-1:30 p.m., lunch-and-learn workshop with Dr. Albert Pisani and patient and ovarian cancer awareness advocate Angela Moran, Wednesday, Sept. 19, El Camino Hospital Mountain View, conference room C, 2485 Hospital Drive, Mountain View. No registration required, open to everyone. Details: 650-962-5834.