NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative named new executive director

Local News

NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative is holding its annual Cocoa & Cookies Open House on Jan. 29.

NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative in Rock Island has named Cassandra Erwin as the new Executive Director of the organization.

Erwin previously worked for the Quad Cities Chapter of NECA as Benefits Fund Manager. She said she is excited to step into the role and make a difference for women in the Quad Cities. “I am deeply moved by the impact NormaLeah has with survivors through programs like sisterSTRONG,” Erwin said. “I am looking forward to participating in health fairs and educating others on ovarian cancer and its connection to other cancers.”

Cassandra Erwin, new Executive Director of NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative (photo: NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative)

NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative was founded by Jodie Kavensky as a legacy to her mother, Norma Yecies Shagrin, and her aunt, Leah Yecies Hantman, who were victims of the deadly disease. Kavensky, CEO of the 13-year-old organization, is stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities but will remain as board president, health educator and survivor liaison. The organization has touched the lives of thousands of women and families impacted by ovarian cancer with education and supportive care resources, raising over $1,000,000 to advance their mission through public outreach and medical collaboration programs.

Jodie Kavensky, founder and CEO of NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative (photo: NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative)

According to the release by NormaLeah, more than 2,500 Quad-City women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during their lifetime. Anyone born with ovaries is at risk for ovarian cancer. Many, such as breast cancer survivors (12% of women), may be at a higher risk but are unaware of their increased risk. Ovarian cancer has long been considered a “silent killer,” because the symptoms are subtle and advance slowly. It is hard to detect, difficult to treat and here is no reliable screening test. NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative’s goal is to empower all those at risk to know the factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

For more information or to get involved, call NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative at (309) 794.0009, click here or email here.

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