By Michaela L. Duckett
Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The Charlotte Post
Carin Ross Johnson is on a mission to make teal ribbons, which symbolize awareness for gynecologic cancer, as popular as the pink ribbons that symbolize breast cancer.
Johnson is the CEO and founder of Lydia’s Legacy, a nonprofit agency dedicated to raising awareness, funding research and finding a cure for gynecologic cancer. Since its founding in 2011, Lydia’s Legacy has donated more than $15,000 to organizations focused on gynecologic cancer research and survivor care.
The agency is hosting its third annual Teal Tea Party on August 18 at 3 p.m. at the Foundation for the Carolinas, 220 North Tryon St.
This year, Lydia’s Legacy is encouraging more men to join in the fight against gynecologic cancers and debuting the Teal Gents.
“These are men from the Charlotte community who are advocates for our cause,” said Johnson. “Their purpose is to bring visibility and awareness (and hopefully research dollars) to women’s gynecologic cancers. We’ve chosen a diverse group of five men who will be honored at this year’s Teal Tea Party.”
The inaugural members of the Teal Gents are Kevin Henry (chief human resources officer at Snyder’s Lance), Derrick Hall (director of sales at Dr. Fresh LLC.), Dr. James B. Hall (gynecologic oncologist at Levine Cancer Center), Dr. John Matthew McDonald (gynecologic oncologist for Novant Healthcare) and Steve Mullis, whose wife survived late-stage ovarian cancer.
Over 70,000 women are diagnosed each year with a form of gynecologic cancer. More than 20,000 die, often because their cancer is not found until it is in its late stages and too advanced for effective treatment.
Johnson’s mother, Lydia G. Ross, was among them. She lost her three-year battle with stage 3A endometrial cancer in 2010. Johnson founded Lydia’s Legacy in her honor the following year.
Johnson said Lydia’s Legacy is her way of carrying out her mother’s last wish.
Throughout her battle with cancer, Ross’ chief concern was that there was not enough awareness or visibility about gynecologic cancer in the community. Ross confided in her daughter that she wanted her life and bout with cancer to be used in some way to help others. Johnson said creating the organization, increasing awareness and working towards finding a cure was her way of ensuring her mother’s legacy lived on.
Lydia’s Legacy partners with the Levine Cancer Institute, Charlotte Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill and other local and regional community organizations to bring attention to gynecologic cancers.
“I continue to be amazed by how much support we receive,” said Johnson. “I remember when we started three years ago, there was next to nothing, and now there is some level of awareness about gynecologic cancer in the region. It makes me realize that maybe we are making an impact. We are making a difference.”
Local officials are taking note as well. The city of Charlotte has designatedSeptember 19 as Teal Day Charlotte.
The Duke Energy building will glow teal on Teal Day and on the day of the Teal Tea Party in support of the cause.
Christine Nelson, co-anchor of “WBTV News This Morning” and “News at Noon” will serve as the Mistress of Ceremony.
The evening will feature live music, health and wellness exhibits, a silent auction and raffles.
To mark the occasion, attendees are encouraged to wear “high-tea” attire highlighting the color “teal.” For more information: LydiasLegacy.com Visit www.tealteaparty.com or lydiaslegacy.com for tickets to the Teal Tea Party or more information about Lydia’s Legacy.