BLOG: VIP Volunteer: A survivor who gives back in so many ways

BLOG: VIP Volunteer: A survivor who gives back in so many ways



8.20.13 This month as part of our MOCA VIP Volunteer series, we’re recognizing an invaluable member of the MOCA team who uses her personal story of ovarian cancer to educate healthcare professionals about the disease.

If you attend MOCA events, at times you’ll hear stories from survivors who have been associated with MOCA since the start of the organization in 1999.  14-year ovarian cancer survivor Carmen Williams is one of those women.

Diagnosed the year that MOCA was founded, Carmen remembers having MOCA co-founder Molly Cade as her MOCA Mentor. Before MOCA had a formal support group program, Carmen met with Molly and other local women to offer each other support and insight on their journey with ovarian cancer. From that informal group, grew MOCA’s full offering of support group programs that we offer today.

Carmen has always been a key volunteer in MOCA’s medical education programs. She was first involved in MOCA’s “Grand Rounds” program speaking about her ovarian cancer experience to hundreds of practicing physicians throughout the Twin Cities attending continuing medical education meetings and conferences. And when MOCA began offering the Survivors Teaching Students® (STS) program to the University of Minnesota medical students, Carmen was one of the first to volunteer to speak to the medical students. In the past decade, Carmen has helped educate hundreds of medical students about the importance of recognizing ovarian cancer symptoms and risks.

She says it’s an honor to be involved with MOCA. “I’m able to present my story and give ovarian cancer “a face” to students in its medical education programs,” says Carmen. “I’m so thankful for the doctors and researchers who spend their lives looking for a cure for ovarian cancer. Being a resource for other survivors by offering help and hope has added great joy to my life.”

Carmen was one of the original research advocates on the Mayo Clinic’s Ovarian Cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) Grants Advocate Committee from 2009 to 2011. SPORE Grants promote interdisciplinary research and help basic research findings move quickly from the laboratory to the patient.

Carmen even brought her family into the fold of supporting MOCA. In fact, Carmen’s son competed in a triathlon to raise money and awareness for MOCA, and our Racing for a Cure triathlon jersey was originally created for him.

Help us thank Carmen for all that she does for MOCA. Are you a survivor interested in helping MOCA accomplish our mission? There are so many ways to do that, including volunteering your time as a medical education volunteer and presenting information about ovarian cancer to medical, nursing and physician assistant students as part of MOCA’s Survivors Teaching Students® program. Click here for more information.