By Katie Lovett
---- — Statistically speaking, the numbers are alarming.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women, with more than 21,000 American women diagnosed each year, according to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Yet, with symptoms that are vague and subtle, it can go undetected until the cancer reaches end stages.
That’s where the Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Group is committed to helping. The group, which began in 2011, has been hosting a range of programs dedicated to raising the awareness for ovarian cancer and its symptoms throughout the month. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The campaign concludes on Sunday with the second annual Jackie Poor Memorial Walk. All funds raised during the 3-mile walk through downtown Newburyport, goes to the non-profit Ovations for a Cure group, which raises money to fund research and treatment for ovarian cancer.
“We’re hoping for a nice turnout,” chairwoman Mary Ellen Lawler said. “Our donations are definitely going up each day.”
The group members were pleased with the success of the programs this year, she added, and hope to see it continue to grow each September.
“The more we get the word out, people will become involved,” Lawler said.
The walk is named in memory of Elaine Carroll’s sister. Carroll, a member of the group who lives in Newburyport, lost her sister to the disease in 2009 after a three-year battle.
The walk begins at 10:30 at Michael’s Harborside and follows a route that will take participants down High and State streets, into Cashman Park and along the riverfront back to Michael’s, where it will conclude. Refreshments will be provided following the walk, and a massage therapist will be on hand to offer some aid for sore feet.
The route allows walkers — who are coming from throughout the state and around New England — to enjoy the beauty of downtown Newburyport while also showing them parts of the community, such as the farmers market, Carroll said.
The group has also compiled a brochure of events occurring on Sunday that walkers will receive during registration.
Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday will address walkers prior to the step-off. A Newburyport pedicab, decorated in teal ribbons — the color of ovarian cancer awareness — will lead the way.
Walkers are encouraged to write the names of their loved ones who have battled cancer or other illnesses on a memory board to be read aloud prior to the walk, as well.
IF YOU GO
Jackie Poor Memorial Walk
Sunday, 10:30 a.m. Registration begins at 10.
Where: Michael’s Harborside, 1 Tournament Wharf, Newburyport
How: $25 on Sunday; $20 when registering online at www.ovationsforthecure.org
Why: The walk benefits Ovations for the Cure, a charity that raises funds for ovarian cancer research.