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Healthcare

Ovarian Cancer Survivor Races To Raise Money For Cancer Research

It is commonly known that pink is the color for breast cancer… but did you know that teal is the color for ovarian cancer? Jenn Sommermann is a survivor of the disease- and has made it her goal to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund or OCRF- while educating people along the way about this type of cancer. Through her 50 by 50 by 100 campaign- Sommermann participates in triathlons around the country- and will race in South Dakota at the end of August.

Just days before her 42nd Birthday in 2006- Jenn Sommermann was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She says during her chemotherapy she saw an article for a triathlon series to benefit ovarian cancer research. At that point she committed that if she survived- she would race in the series.

“I was relatively new to triathlons. I started doing triathlons when I turned 40 because my best friend kind of challenged me to do it and- so I was relatively new to the sport- so I kind of took it as an opportunity to expand on something that I was already becoming pretty passionate about," says Sommermann. "And actually I really credit the sport with saving my life. It was only with the keen awareness of my body that I was able to detect that something was wrong with me. I’m using that for now as a vehicle to hopefully save other women’s lives."

Sommermann’s ultimate goal is to race in 50 triathlons in all 50 states by the time she is 50 years old- while raising 100 thousand dollars for the OCRF. She says the OCRF is a small organization dedicated to finding a method of early detection for ovarian cancer. Sommermann says social media has been a helpful fundraising tool- and she is thrilled with whatever donations she receives.

“One hundred percent of everything that I raise goes directly to the cause. I work four jobs to be able to pay for all this. It was really the commitment that I made when I survived this disease that I would give back," says Sommermann. "It’s costing me a fair amount of money and someone recently said to me- ‘Why didn’t you just cut them a check for that amount of money? It would’ve been easier on your body.’ But that would’ve really not done what I wanted to do. Not only am I trying to raise money here but it’s become a grass roots opportunity to educate men and women about signs and symptoms and early detection."

Sommermann will race in South Dakota at the end of August as her 49th state- and will end her campaign in Hawaii.

Sommermann has raised approximately 97 thousand dollars so far and is confident she will reach her goal of 100 thousand.