Mother-son team drives for ovarian cancer awareness

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There's no reliable test yet to find ovarian cancer early.

Beating it depends on recognizing the symptoms quickly.

A Montgomery County family is working hard to make sure everyone of every age knows what those symptoms are.

You'll see a lot of teal around the home of 14-year-old Harrison Runyen and his mom Maureen, especially these days leading up to the 12th annual Sandy Sprint for the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

Teal is the color for ovarian cancer awareness.

3 summers ago, Maureen was in the fight of her life against the disease.

"Stage 3," she says.

"I really could have been diagnosed much earlier had I been aware of what the symptoms are," she continues.

Symptoms can include: * Bloating
* Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
* Pelvic or abdominal pain

* Urinary urgency or frequency

Maureen was treated with chemotherapy.

When it sapped her energy, Harrison took on the housework.

"I wasn't the best at first," says Harrison about his first efforts at laundry.

But he persevered.

"He learned to do his own laundry, he got himself packed and off to camp," says Maureen.

He didn't realize until later how sick his mom was.

"She told me there was like a 25% chance of me living - and that hit me like a rock," says Harrison, holding back his emotions.

Harrison went into high gear, hoping to make the color teal for awareness of ovarian cancer as recognizable as pink for breast cancer.

He organized a school fundraiser -

For a dollar a foot, students could duct tape a teacher volunteer to the wall.

"We had a HUGE line that went on for probably 25 minutes to a half hour, of students waiting to buy tape," he says.

He also started a cancer awareness club in his middle school, and he enlisted a great faculty advisor.

"That same teacher we duct-taped to the wall is now helping run the cancer awareness club with us," Harrison says with a grin.

For Saturday's Sandy Rollman Foundation races, he and classmates will run, and sell pins and cards listing ovarian cancer symptom.

On top of that, he lined up the race's lead sponsor, Jade Yoga mats of Conshohocken.

Harrison wants to educate kids, so they can help their moms & grandmoms catch ovarian cancer earlier.

"I just didn't want any other kid to go through that," he says.

The 12th annual Sandy Sprint is Saturday morning, April 23, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Registration is open till noon, Thursday, April 21.

There are 5, 10, and 15K events, and everyone is invited to come in superhero costumes! If you can't be there in person, you can register as a Sleepwalker.

Proceeds go toward ovarian cancer awareness and research.

You can register here.
Related Topics:
healthhealthcheckovarian cancer
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