Humming Birds, Butterflies & Ovarian Cancer 

Ovarian Cancer Grandma

Grandma Mavrine

For as long as I can remember my grandma Mavrine was very much a large part of my life. As a little girl I loved her so much and knew even at that age she was my best friend.   When I was younger I used to go visit her in North Augusta in the summers. Grandma loved to bird watch, she had a bay window in her kitchen and as we would sit there and eat lunch we would watch for hummingbirds. When the hummingbirds would come to the feeder she would get so excited and have the happiest smile on her face….I will never forget that smile. She was sweet, kind, loving, and friendly. Everything you could ever want in a grandma.

Grandma had 4 children, the eldest my uncle Mike, then my aunt Susie, my mom Angie, and the baby boy my uncle Scottie. Grandma was dearly loved by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My daughter K was 7 when grandma passed away but she still remembers her vividly. She left a special imprint on K’s heart.

Ovarian Cancer Grandma

Grandma & K

I used to think about what life would be like without her, what our family would be like without her, but I never imagined she would have to hear the words “you have cancer.” A couple of years before she was diagnosed she started showing signs of not feeling well…she went to many doctors, but it took them a long time to diagnose her underlying condition. Instead they treated her symptoms with medications that relieved them temporarily. Her symptoms included:

*Bloating, which caused weight gain
*Feeling full quickly
*Frequently going to the bathroom
*Indigestion

Unfortunately, cancer was never mentioned at any of my grandma’s appointments, but
I now know that these are symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Finally, in October of 2009 my grandma was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite having stage 4, she was very brave while battling cancer and receiving her treatments. I never saw her cry one tear, she never complained, and she never asked why me. She was a Christian and she knew that the Lord would take care of her. Less than two years later she passed away at the age of 78.

teal butterfly challengeSince her passing I have become an active advocate for spreading awareness about Ovarian Cancer.  I participate in the Ballantyne Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society, while also volunteering on the committee. I feel like my purpose in life now is to honor my grandma by spreading awareness, raising money, and saving lives. No one should have to deal with cancer and no more families should have to watch someone they love battle cancer. Being on the committee for Relay for Life has been an amazing experience. I have been on the committee since the first Relay in Ballantyne which was in 2012, we walk for all cancers, and we want to see a cure for all of them. Aside from that I have teamed up with a very special lady named Janine. She and I met at an ovarian cancer event called the Stiletto Sprint. Her sister passed away from ovarian cancer. To increase awareness about ovarian cancer and to honor our loved ones, Janine and I started a challenge called the Teal Butterfly Challenge…we have had people from all over the world take the challenge! It’s been amazing. We want women to know the signs, know your bodies! If something doesn’t feel right and your gut tells you something is wrong go to the doctor, get a second opinion, or even a third. Do whatever it takes to get answers and to feel better. Also know that ovarian cancer cannot be detected in a pap smear. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above or know anyone that does, please see your doctor.

Teal Butterfly Challenge

Initiators of the Teal Butterfly Challenge, Janine & Amy

Prior to grandma’s passing I never really saw many hummingbirds when I wasn’t with her, but now I have one that comes to my house every spring and summer since she passed away…in my heart I know it is her letting me know she is still here with us.

Teal Butterfly Challenge

Amy’s mom Angie doing the Teal Butterfly Challenge

My grandma left a legacy, and so many people in my life and my families lives will always remember her for the amazing woman she was. I can only hope to leave the kind of legacy she did. I will continue to fight this fight for her as long I am able. Cancer did not win!!!  This is how a family friend recently described my grandma in an email I received:

“Your grandmother was so special to my mom. She was a faithful friend. I only have the best memories of your grandmother…so kind, always smiling and happy. It was such a blessing to know her.”

And that is exactly how my grandma’s legacy goes on.

I truly miss her so much!

Amy

Cancer Resources:

Amy was recently awarded the Cancer Education Award by her Relay for Life Committee for continuing to dedicate her time to spreading awareness and educating the community about cancer. In addition to supporting cancer awareness, Amy is a single mother to an 11 year old daughter. They live in Charlotte NC and she works as a Sr. Claims Processor in the insurance field.  Amy will be walking at the Relay for Life event on May 29-30 to honor her grandmother and others who have been affected by cancer . To support Amy in her fight against cancer click here to donate.

relay for life team

Amy’s Relay for Life Team

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