Ovarian cancer survivor Katherine Kerr calls for support for teal ribbon cause

TEAL TIME: Ovarian cancer survivor Katherine Kerr is helping women know what signs and symptoms to look out for. Photo: Peter Hardin 140218PHA112
TEAL TIME: Ovarian cancer survivor Katherine Kerr is helping women know what signs and symptoms to look out for. Photo: Peter Hardin 140218PHA112

THERE’S a colorful new gang in town and it’s rapidly recruiting new members.

“The Tealers” are bound by a striking blue ribbon and a story which might resonate for a lot of women.

Tamworth Regional Council staffer Katherine Kerr was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014, only after the signs and symptoms became prominent.

“I experienced distention of the stomach, which was probably my only sign,” Ms Kerr said.

“Prior to that, I experienced signs I was unaware of like increased frequency to the bathroom and change in bowel habits.”

With a teal ribbon on her shirt, and the shirts of local police, firies, council, post office and Bunnings staff, Mr Kerr is ensuring ovarian cancer doesn’t go unnoticed in Tamworth.

THE GANG: Oxley police, council staff, Fire and Rescue, Bunning and post office staff have donned the ribbon. Photo: Peter Hardin

THE GANG: Oxley police, council staff, Fire and Rescue, Bunning and post office staff have donned the ribbon. Photo: Peter Hardin

The “Tamworth for Teal” campaign is driving to sell as many ribbons as possible throughout February.

The drive will culminate on February 28, teal ribbon day.

Ms Kerr said the awareness was already building through conversation.

“People are asking what’s that ribbon for,” she said.

“And then they ask what’s ovarian cancer, so it’s starting conversations.”

Ovarian Cancer Australia hopes to raise $500,000 during February, through “afternoon teal” fundraisers, but Ms Kerr said it’s also about raising awareness about the signs and symptoms.

“My story is very similar to every other woman who has had ovarian cancer,” she said.

Ms Kerr said it was heartening to see the city slowly flooding with teal.

“I see a ribbon and I think ‘I helped make that happen’,” she said.

“And it means there’ll be support for a family or another person going through it.”

Currently, only 43 per cent of women live for five years after their initial diagnosis.

About 75 per cent of women are diagnosed at a an advanced stage when it is difficult to treat successfully.

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