by LAWSON ROBINSON
The 6th annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness event was held last Saturday in the Village of Rochester Hills. This year’s event featured a brand new name, Wheels & Teal, to help display the passion for cars in the Detroit area, the Motor City.
The Wheels & Teal event is run in conjunction with the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance. MIOCA was established in 2011 and has since worked to promote the early detection of ovarian cancer and improved treatment outcomes. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal form of gynecologic cancer and this is why they strive to help women get checked for ovarian cancer.
In 2012, the first Wheels & Teal event was held as a small awareness event at the Village of Rochester Hills consisting of a 13-car Teal and Turquoise Classic Car show. The Secretary for the MIOCA Board of Directors, Michelle Shepherd, spoke to the intentions of the local event. “We wanted to combine the Detroit area’s love of cars to drive awareness. Everyone associates the color pink with breast cancer, but few people know about ovarian cancer, its symptoms, or its awareness color of teal.”
This year, the popular Teal and Turquoise Classic Car show returned as well as the 5K Fun Run/Walk. The 5K started in the morning, but participants arrived early to create their race bibs, enjoy food and drink provided by Whole Foods and visit sponsors tents with giveaways.
Upon completing the 5K, runners traded in their teal tyvek wristbands for an ovarian cancer awareness band and one raffle ticket. Anyone with a raffle ticket was automatically entered into a raffle that featured $4,000 in prizes. Wheels & Teal even featured live music on the back end of the event, as the Big Chief Chorus and Jennifer Kincer and Friends rocked the stage.
Michelle Shepherd was very pleased with the turnout for this year’s event as well as the amount of money they managed to raise for their efforts. “This year, we estimate that we had about 600 walkers and runners and 46 cars at the event. This event is the highest single day event in terms of revenue for the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance and this year we managed to raise over $50,000!”
So where does the money raised for this event go in relation to MIOCA and its work with ovarian cancer? “What is raised in Michigan, stays in Michigan,” explains Shepherd. “MIOCA provides support to survivors and educates Michigan communities, raises awareness, and funds innovative research. This year alone, MIOCA has awarded $100,000 in research grants.”
And the impact she believes the event has on the community is profound. “The feedback that I received was so positive. The Wheels & Teal event gives the ovarian cancer community the opportunity to come together, to make some noise about ovarian cancer but to also lift each other up. It is important for those who lost someone but it is also important for those surviving. It helps them to see that other people are going through the same situation and that it is possible to overcome the ovarian cancer diagnosis.”
To volunteer for the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance, visit MIOCA.org. For more details on the Wheels & Teal event, and the people who run it, visit wheelsandteal.com.