Ten Years Strong
Jodi’s Race for Awareness impacts women across the state in the fight against ovarian cancer
In June 2009, an intrepid young mother sat in a wheelchair at City Park. She watched hundreds of smiling women cross the finish line of the inaugural Jodi’s Race for Awareness. This woman was Jodi Brammeier, and she was enduring the final stages of her battle with ovarian cancer.
Over 3,000 women in Colorado are living with ovarian cancer, which is the most deadly gynecologic cancer. Of those diagnosed, 55% will lose their lives in five years and 80% will experience a recurrence. Cures are few for this disease, which has no screening test and only vague symptoms like bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary urgency or frequency.
When diagnosed early, up to 90% of women will survive more than five years; however, 75% of the cases are diagnosed in the late stages. For Jodi, this fact was unacceptable. From that point forward, she decided that her legacy would be to educate women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and raise awareness of the disease in an effort to save lives.
And, on June 5, 2010, just six weeks before her death, she watched her dream come to fruition as 1,750 runners and walkers participated in the first annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness.
The race proved effective in raising awareness, especially for participant Joyce Swanson. When Swanson attended Jodi’s Race, she noticed signs along the course that listed the symptoms of ovarian cancer. After immediately contacting a specialist, she was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer followed by surgery and chemotherapy in 2011 leading into 2012.
Joyce attributed the Race for catching her cancer, and got the chance to walk alongside her daughters at the event after diagnosis to continue spreading knowledge of the disease. Unfortunately, Joyce did pass from ovarian cancer, but her family is thankful they had the opportunity to create wonderful memories together in the intervening years.
On Saturday, June 8, more than 3,000 runners and walkers will dress in teal and join in City Park for the 10th annual Jodi’s Race for Awareness. There will be tears, smiles and joyful celebrations – just as there were during the first race that Jodi witnessed. Through it all, Jodi’s legacy will live on.
John Brammeier, Jodi’s husband, says, “The Race has grown to be exactly what Jodi imagined – a joyful day in which women and families share their strength, learn more about ovarian cancer, and leave inspired to help educate others.”
To register for Jodi’s Race, please visit www.jodisrace.org. To learn more about ovarian cancer and the programs that are available in Colorado for those affected by the disease, go to www.colo-ovariancancer.org.