Do you know or have a woman in your life? It can be your mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, friend, or even a coworker. Chances are you do. Now, you are probably wondering why this is important. In the United States, every 6 minutes a woman is diagnosed with gynecologic (GYN) cancer. This means that a woman and their family you may know could be affected by GYN cancer, directly or indirectly, at some point in their life.
According to the CDC, GYN cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. Types of GYN cancer include ovarian, cervical, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. Ovarian cancer, also known as the silent killer, is the most common type. Approximately 110,000 women will be diagnosed with a type of GYN cancer each year. Sadly, about 30,000 of these women will die.
So what exactly is being done to help GYN cancer patients and their families in the Birmingham area? The Laura Crandall Brown Foundation (LCBF) is a nonprofit located in Hoover, Alabama. It was founded in honor of Laura Crandall Brown after she passed away from ovarian cancer at 25. Laura was optimistic and wanted to help other women who were facing a similar diagnosis. The nonprofit was founded by Laura’s friends and family who aspired to offer hope through research for early detection of ovarian cancer, empower communities through statewide GYN cancer awareness, and enrich lives through support.
Initially, the LCBF was an ovarian cancer based nonprofit but has now become inclusive of all GYN cancers. It offers a variety of patient support programs including CanSurvive support groups twice a month, survivor to patient mentorship program, comfort care bags for women undergoing chemotherapy, financial assistance for women and their families, and transportation to medical appointments. Although women are the ones diagnosed with GYN cancer, we must not forget that their families (spouses and children) are also affected.
In 2018, the LCBF helped over 1,200 GYN cancer patients and their families through direct financial and emotional support, funded more than $400,000 in research grants for early detection of ovarian cancer, and reached more than 800 community members through GYN cancer awareness.
The LCBF is able to help so many women through generous donations and sponsorships from the community, businesses, and fundraising events. Events held each year include the Taste of Teal Gala, Annual Family Fall Festival (10k/5k), and Get Busy Fighting Golf Tournament. Other family-friendly events include percentage nights at local restaurants, kickball tournaments, and GYN cancer awareness speaking engagements.
The LCBF is strongly committed to making sure GYN cancer patients know they are not alone, but they cannot do it on their own.
Imagine what it would be like to see one of your loved ones receive a life-changing diagnosis and the impact it could have on your family. The LCBF needs your help. No gesture is ever too small. The LCBF is always eager to work with each volunteer, individuals or families, to find the best place for them within the organization. Volunteer opportunities can range from assembling comfort care bags to clerical work to even helping out at an event.
The LCBF is an incredible resource that many women may not know is there for them. Everyone from the founder to the executive director to volunteers is working hard to provide support to GYN cancer patients, survivors, families, and caregivers. If you know or have a woman in your life, that is the only criteria needed for you to take action and join the LCBF in the fight against GYN cancers.
For more information about the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation, GYN cancer awareness, events, or more, please visit www.ThinkofLaura.org.
Reference: “Gynecologic Cancers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 Sept. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/gynecologic/index.htm.
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