JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The late Teresa Ashley never knew her story would lead to so many fingernails and toenails being painted teal every September. But, she knew that she wanted to get people talking about ovarian cancer. Ashley died in 2010.
"She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and brought Teal Toes cards into my salon and wanted me to hand them out because it shows symptoms of the disease," Tracy Cole, owner of Elements Salon in Jonesboro said. "It helps to raise awareness so maybe we can save other womens' lives." Ashley was Cole's client and suffered with the disease.
After her death,Cole felt led to carry out what Ashley asked. But, she also felt led to bring the discussion to men. "Why can't men do it too?" Cole asked. "Their sisters, their mothers are affected. So we got you guys [KAIT] involved. The mayor and some of the city employees did it."
The color teal is now associated with ovarian cancer awareness, and in Jonesboro, is part of Hope Week activities. During the month of September, area salons can participate in the effort.
"Most Teal Toes salons will take a portion of their proceeds from pedicures and manicures and donate them to charity," Cole said. Salons aren't alone in the effort to incite discussion over this silent killer of women.
Many area businesses are pledging support, too. In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, Newk's Eatery is going teal. The color change on their cups, straws and water bottles will be reflected, as part of an initiative to "brand" support for the cause. Newk's will also be part of a Teal Toes fundraiser at Jagged Edge Salon at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30. Plans are for live entertainment to be provided by the band, The Indifferents.
Each year, an estimated 200,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It's a statistic that hit close to home for Newk's Eatery CEO Chris Newcomb and his wife, Lori, whose personal battle with the disease began in 2013.
"With virtually no early detection test available for ovarian cancer, being in tune to your body's subtle warning signs is critical," Newcomb, "Newk's Cares" co-founder, said. Having raised more than $120,000 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Newk's is increasing this year's goal to $150,000.
Women are encouraged to see their gynecologist if they have these symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: bloating that is persistent, eating less and feeling fuller, abdominal pain and trouble with their bladder. Additional symptoms may include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to survival. For more information, go to www.tealtoes.org or the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund's website at www.ocrf.org.
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