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‘Turn the Towns Teal’ spreading awareness of ovarian cancer

Corri Trotter of Morris has met many women who have had ovarian cancer or who are in the middle of battling it. She often hears variations of comments like, “If only I had gone to the doctor sooner.”

The problem is that this particular cancer does not have glaring characteristic symptoms. Women who have ovarian cancer usually explain away their symptoms on their monthly cycles, water retention, diet, stress, working too much and other conditions and everyday lifestyles.

“These symptoms are so often overlooked and written off,” Trotter said. “They are such vague and common things that women feel go along with other ailments ... but if you let ovarian cancer go, it is one of the deadliest. If it’s caught in the early stages, it has a much higher level of survivability.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women and is the deadliest of the gynecological cancers.

Symptoms can include bloating, abdominal discomfort, menstrual changes, urinary symptoms, fatigue, feeling full, upset stomach, back pain, pain during intercourse and constipation.

September is ovarian cancer awareness month, and Trotter is once again organizing efforts to increase awareness of the symptoms so that women can be diagnosed and treated sooner.

But what has previously been called, “Turn the Town Teal,” has turned plural this year, and is now named “Turn the Towns Teal,” with the addition of Coal City and Minooka to Morris.

Trotter and a group of volunteers in all three communities have tied large teal-colored ribbons and bows to downtown areas in all three communities and to other buildings, such as Morris Hospital. The large ribbons are also available for business owners and home owners to use on their properties.

Debi Bols, Jason Houck and others helped her with Minooka’s ribbons, and her in-laws and step-mother tied the bows along Broadway in Coal City. A group of loyal volunteers helped with the Morris efforts, and Trotter’s daughters – Sydney, 11, and Eva, 9 – also got in on the action to help with the bows around the towns and even in their own schools.

“Eva is peddling ribbons at Saratoga School,” Trotter said with a laugh.

The Morris Community High School volleyball team is also participating by wearing teal shoelaces at their September games in conjunction with the “Tie It Teal” campaign. The Redskins will be hosting an awareness night at the Sept. 19 match, when they play Rochelle.

There will be awareness items available to purchase, with proceeds going to increase awareness of ovarian cancer.

Trotter said the hope is to make the girls aware of the symptoms by being involved in the campaign. For the Lady Redskins, the ribbons and laces are also a way to remember lost loved ones and support those currently battling ovarian cancer. Grandmothers of one of the team’s coaches and one of its players have had the cancer.

Trotter brought the national campaign “Turn the Town Teal” to Morris after her mother passed away from ovarian cancer in 2002. She wants to do what she can to spread the word about the symptoms of the disease to women and to physicians.

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