Turn the Tide Teal for Ovarian Cancer: Paddling for a Cure in Bellingham Bay

by France Freeman and Kari Neumeyer

Supporting: Step Up America for Ovarian Cancer for STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation


68 days left


Join us at 1pm Sept. 3, 2022, for an easy-paced paddle along the shoreline of Bellingham Bay.

We'll put in from the Community Boating Center, 555 Harris Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225.

No paddler? No problem! The CBC is partnering with us and has boards and kayaks to rent — just $10 for two hours! They also will provide a brief safety talk.

The first 50 participants to register for the paddle will receive a teal T-shirt.

We’re France and Kari, two Northwest gals who met through an online support group for low-grade serous ovarian cancer where we discovered that we share a love for paddling that helped us cope with this sneaky bitch of a disease.


France already was an avid paddleboarder who found that getting out on her SUP was one of the few things that brought a sense of calm throughout the intense stress of diagnosis, and that helped her to rebuild strength post surgery. 

In September 2020, I woke up in my UW hospital room on the morning of my 52nd birthday to hear my doctor confirm what I was afraid of. “It is cancer.” I was diagnosed with Stage III, possibly IV, low-grade serous ovarian cancer. As I learned more about this cancer, the words that stood out to me were: “high recurrence,” “poor prognosis,” “limited treatment options,” “chemo resistant.” I’m on a treatment that has kept my residual cancer mostly stable so far. My last scan showed residual disease, but for now I’m stable, feeling good and hopeful.

During her cancer recovery, Kari kept visualizing herself floating on a raft. The imagery became a reality in summer 2021 when she got her first kayak.

Ovarian cancer was the furthest thing from my mind when I got the call. When I looked back, I did have some symptoms that could have been caused by the three tumors in my ovaries and abdomen, but nothing serious enough that I thought to mention them to a doctor. My tumors were chemo-resistant, but my surgeon got it all, and I've had no evidence of disease since June 2020.


This year, over 21,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and about 14,000 women will die. There is no screening or early detection test available. Symptoms are subtle which results in only 20 percent of ovarian tumors being detected before they have progressed to an advanced stage.

STAAR Ovarian Cancer Foundation has created the Step Up America for Ovarian Cancer Campaign to raise awareness and funding for research, especially for the rare subtype, Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma.

Every year, women of all ages are affected by ovarian cancer, especially the rare form low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSC) which disproportionately affects younger women. The lack of screening tests and limited research for ovarian cancer adds to the importance of educating women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and the need to raise funding for research, to help give these young women better treatment options and longer lives.  

Funds raised will support ovarian cancer research. STAAR is governed and run 100% by a volunteer board and committee members, half of whom are women previously diagnosed with LGSC. Since 2020, STAAR has contributed to funding two research project at MD Anderson Cancer Center with the most recent funding a LGSC research study for $150,000. 

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