Last week, Pureology invited beauty editors to a scrumptious breakfast at the quaint Claudette restaurant in NYC’s Greenwich Village neighborhood to celebrate its realignment and commitment to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. There was nary a dry eye in the house as editors learned about Pureology’s efforts in the partnership and listened on as two brave speakers who had been affected by the debilitating disease told their stories.
First to speak, Stefanie Taylor, chapter manager of the Long Island NOCC, talked about losing her mother to ovarian cancer and about the importance of bringing awareness to the disease which affects 1 in 75 women who all too often think their annual pap smear test detects the disease, which sadly it does not. “For too long women’s health issues have been swept under the rug and ovarian cancer is one of those issues,” says Taylor. “While ovarian cancer is silent, we cannot be. We need to encourage women to advocate for themselves and to stop dismissing and ignoring or denying what might be happening and to make sure women of all ages know that a pap smear does not detect ovarian cancer.”
Second to share her story, ovarian cancer survivor Kerry Stogsdill, spoke about her personal battle with the disease and how even though she displayed symptoms it went undiagnosed for years until she finally met with doctors who would listen. Those doctors then helped her overcome the disease and ultimately helped to give her the family she always dreamed of, including one of her daughters whom she named Elizabeth, after her doctor Elizabeth Jewell, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Ovarian cancer is confusing. There’s nothing black or white about this disease,” says Stogsdill. “It’s silent but it speaks and we have to listen. It may mumble and it may throw us riddles but it’s talking. We have to learn to listen to our bodies to make sure we’re in good health.”
The symptoms to keep an eye out for: feeling the need to urinate urgently or often; trouble eating or feeling full quickly; pelvic or abdominal pain; and bloating. As part of Pureology’s efforts, the haircare brand will be rolling out kits of its Strength Cure line in salons nationwide in September that will include ovarian sign and symptom awareness tips; by the end of 2017 all of its hair care bottles will display information on the NOCC and awareness; and stylists, salons and salespersons will be trained to share awareness information with their customers. “Awareness is where this story gets really important,” says Stogsdill. “I feel so grateful for the life I’m living right now and I know other women can have this story. I want everyone to have the chance to have a story that ends with sunshine and rainbows. I want women to start talking about their ovaries, fallopian tubes and transvaginal ultrasounds. I want this to be part of the conversation. I want us to fight for our health.”
Pureology is not only showing its support of the NOCC through awareness displayed on its products, it also has contributed a $100,000 monetary donation to the organization and joined the NOCC in kicking off its Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer season in New Jersey. Pureology’s “Team Teal,” which consisted of employees, salons and stylist partners and distributers, took part in Saturday’s events, which helped to empower survivors and raise funds and awareness for ovarian cancer.
As noted, the key to catching this disease early: awareness. You can do your part by simply spreading the word. NOCC CEO David Barley stressed how merely telling 10 people that pap smears don’t screen for the disease and informing them of the symptoms will create awareness. “It’s your job, your responsibility,” he says.
[Images by Molly Church]