New this year, MOCA is offering “Jodie’s Fund” – in memory of Jodie Rychwalski, a MOCA supporter who treasured taking part in Camp Mak-A-Dream, an ovarian cancer survivors’ retreat in Missoula, Montana. Although the Camp is free, participants need to pay for travel – and Jodie’s Fund will help defray travel costs for a woman.
In our latest Teal Together blog, Jodie’s husband, Wayne, and her son and daughter have offered up some memories of what made it so special to Jodie. Read on to hear what they have to say – and to find out how a woman who lives in Minnesota or receives treatment in Minnesota for ovarian cancer can apply for Jodie’s Fund.
Jodie was a seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm. The fuel for this was personal interaction, relationships, both established and potentially new, and activity. Her energy was warm and contagious on all the right aspects. This was fact for anything she decided to conquer.
The fight all of the women encounter on this front is more than any person should be asked to face. Much less alone. For Jodie, Camp Mak-A-Dream was a source that overtopped all tanks and invigorated her more than I can ever remember. A truly positive collaboration of brave women.
Jodie’s dream was that she could help in any way possible with getting as many women to experience the joy, love and friendships that blossomed from her experiences at Camp Mak-A-Dream.
-Adam Rychwalski, Son
One of Jodie’s greatest gifts was her ability to instill joy in those around her. She derived her energy from people and shared experience. For Jodie, Camp Mak-A-Dream was the perfect respite.
Jodie returned from each experience with stories of campfires, hikes and arts and crafts. True to form, she recruited others to dress up and perform skits. She even joined the camp choir, though we all know that singing was far from her forte. Most importantly she returned inspired by other survivors. Yes, the women all shared stories of the battles they fought, but more importantly they shared stories of how they continued to live.
Anyone who met Jodie knew that she spent each day after her diagnosis enjoying life to the fullest. Camp Mak-A-Dream provided her the perfect venue where she could do just that, live. Her dream was that other women with ovarian cancer have the same opportunity to get away and enjoy life.
-Wendy Rychwalski, Daughter
Jodie first attended Camp Mak A Dream in the fall of 2009. When she returned from this retreat, I recall her many stories about what really mattered most, and that was her interactions with women from all walks of life, who live life with passion and purpose.
She couldn’t say enough about the many laughs, tears, stories, pictures shared of loved ones, working on crafts but mostly, supporting each new found friend in their life journey, living with ovarian cancer.
The ovarian cancer retreat was such an important part of Jodie’s Journey. Jodie was not able to return again to the camp due to failing health but her focus turned to one of wanting to provide an opportunity for women to share in the many experiences that she enjoyed.
Jodie’s wish was that our family establish a trust with MOCA to fund one woman’s travel to Camp every year. We are blessed to make Jodie’s wish come alive.
– Wayne Rychwalski, Husband