The NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative invites survivors, supporters, and the public to its 10th-annual Cocoa & Cookies Open House on Saturday, Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NormaLeah office, 1614 Second Avenue in downtown Rock Island.

The Cocoa & Cookies Social is free to attend and is open to both men and women. “We encourage everyone to bring a friend and help us celebrate our grassroots efforts and learn how we are moving forward with our mission to rise up against ovarian cancer,” Jodie Shagrin Kavensky, the organization’s founder and CEO, said in a Friday release.

Come and meet Cassandra Erwin, the new executive director of the 13-year-old organization. All guests will have a chance to win door prizes and receive discounts on Bling4Cancer awareness and fashion jewelry. There will also be craft activities for the children. This annual open house is NormaLeah’s way of thanking the QC community for their support and to share a preview of the 2022 initiatives with ways volunteers can get involved.

Cassandra Erwin is the organization’s new executive director.

NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative was established in 2008 as a registered nonprofit organization. Named after two sisters who both died of ovarian cancer, their mission is to enrich lives through early detection education, patient support services, and research funding for ovarian cancer – the silent killer of women.

The group’s efforts concentrate on educating women and those who love (and care for) them about ovarian cancer and its genetic link to other cancers.

In the Quad Cities, more than 2,500 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer during their lifetime, according to NormaLeah. All people born with ovaries are 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. Assessing personal risks and knowing the symptoms are crucial for earlier diagnoses and improved outcomes.

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 there is no reliable screening test. NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative, headquartered in Rock Island, empowers all people born with ovaries (and those who love them) to know the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

For more information or to get involved, contact NormaLeah at 309-794-0009,, or visit