“Like a butterfly, ovarian cancer whispers . . . so listen.” — Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition
FORT SMITH — The fourth annual Butterfly Release was held Saturday (Sept. 8) in remembrance of those who have lost their battle to ovarian cancer and to celebrate the lives of those who are survivors. The event was held at the Reynolds Cancer Support House.
About 75 guests gathered at the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House to support and remember the victims of this aggressive disease.
Guests were welcomed by survivor Jeri Moffett. City Director Kevin Settle read a proclamation signed by Mayor Sandy Sanders stating that September would be recognized as cancer awareness month in Fort Smith. Sisters in Song (SIS) entertained the guests with singing.
Guest speaker Carrie Bumgardner, executive director of Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition, read statistics to the guests. While giving the statistics, at times, Carrie choked up and became teary eyed. Bumgardner is a survivor of ovarian cancer.
Karen Jones read the names of those who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer while Brenda Rich rang the bell in remembrance. Sisters in Song then performed another song for the guests. The butterfly release then followed on the back porch. Participants released the butterflies from individual envelopes and watched as some flied immediately away and others lingered around.
Guests then stepped back into the house and enjoyed refreshments. Symptoms of ovarian cancer are not specific to the disease, and they often mimic those of many other more-common conditions, including digestive and bladder problems. When ovarian cancer symptoms are present, they tend to be persistent and worsen with time.
The American Cancer Society estimates in 2012 that 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer will be reported in the United States and of those 15,500 will result in death. In the state of Arkansas, it is estimated that 200 new cases will be reported in 2012 with 150 deaths resulting. 75% of new cases diagnosed are in the late stage with only a 46% survival rate.
However, if detected early, the survival rate goes up to 86%. Often known as the silent killer, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women. One out of every 71 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.