Joan Kathleen Thompson lost her sister to ovarian cancer and now she is on a mission to raise awareness and counter the disease with a cross-Canada bicycle ride.
As part of her journey, Thompson passed through Hope spreading her message about the importance of awareness and funding for this too-often fatal disease earlier this month.
The stats on ovarian cancer are devastating, yet funding remains woefully inadequate.
Thompson’s sister, Sheila Rae Trautman of Kamloops, B.C., died at age 59 in November 2018, just three-and-a-half years after diagnosis. Trautman was an athlete, coach, mother and educational assistant who modelled the values of perseverance and service, values that have motivated Thompson to do this ride.
A seasoned long-distance cyclist who also rode the Pamir Highway in Central Asia in 2018, Thompson’s current cross-country ride began May 14, and is planned to last until August 1, when she hopes to reach Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“I hope this ride can help other women and their families understand the measures that can be taken to avert ovarian cancer, or at least improve the outcome of such a diagnosis,” said Thompson, who’s a retired teacher from Christina Lake.
“My sister’s story attests to what needs to be improved in ovarian cancer screening, and treatment, as well as a call for Canadians to ask for more funding and action to protect women at risk of developing this disease.”
One in two women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die within five years.
Donations for Ovarian Cancer Canada are encouraged to show support for Thompson.