As MOCA celebrates our 20th anniversary in 2019, we’ll be profiling a MOCA supporter each month. Some will have long-standing ties with our organization, and some will have connected with us more recently. They’ll all share a common thread of caring deeply about MOCA’s mission.

We’re kicking off our January profile with a Q and A with Joe Cade, the husband of the late Molly Cade. She was a  founder of MOCA and its first President.  Molly was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 1998 at the age of 49 and died from the disease in 2003.

How did the idea of MOCA first come about for Molly?

After her diagnosis, Molly was disappointed to learn that there was nowhere in Minnesota to get any type of support or information about ovarian cancer.   To get information, Molly got on the mailing list for Conversations, a national newsletter for ovarian cancer survivors, which was based out of Texas.  Molly contacted the editor, Cindy Melancon, and asked if she would give Molly the names of other Minnesotans on the mailing list.

On that list were 17 survivors.  Molly contacted them and soon joined a group of them for coffee.

She was excited to have found someone to talk to, yet she kept saying to me that she was concerned that there were other women out there struggling with the disease with nowhere to go.  She thought that maybe her calling was to start an organization, but was reluctant to do so without help. Another survivor, Kris Warn, offered to assist her, so in 1999, they founded the non-profit that would be the vehicle for the organization.

In addition to providing support and information for survivors, Molly wanted MOCA to raise money for ovarian cancer research here in Minnesota, so it would directly impact women living here.   That’s why the Silent No More Walk/Run came about (now HOM Teal Strides for OvarianCancer) as a way to raise vital funding for ovarian cancer researchers.

What were the first years of MOCA like?

Our home became MOCA’s office!  Our kitchen was where Molly had her computer and her phone. She was on one or the other constantly.  MOCA soon took over other sections of our house, and we had signs and supplies in the basement and garage.  In those first few years, it was a family affair. We all pitched in; sons Brian and Kevin even slept in Roswell Park overnight before the Walk/Run as volunteer security!

What do you think Molly would have thought of MOCA today?

I think she would have been pleasantly surprised by its growth and the extent of its programs. And she would have been very pleased at the amount MOCA has devoted to research! She had a feeling that it was going to grow into a very successful organization because she saw that happening when she was alive. She saw it progress from this core group of women to a larger group of survivors each year. The walk got bigger, the programs and volunteers increased, everything seemed to just continue to expand.

What is your hope for the next 20 years of MOCA?

My hope is that there is no need for MOCA to exist in 20 years. I do feel inspired by the research that is happening; every year there are increments of change.

It has been an honor to continue Molly’s legacy, on the MOCA Board of Directors and as an OCNA (now OCRA) Board of Directors Member. I continue to be involved with MOCA – especially with the golf event: Molly Cade Scramble for Ovarian Cancer. That event is very special for our family and I am thrilled that even younger generations now participate.

My family and I are also looking forward to attending the Black, White & Teal Gala this April and mark 20 years of MOCA at this inspiring event.

MOCA’s mission will always be our mission.