Local woman on a mission to educate about cancer


A woman from the Quad Cities is determined to help people who are battling cancer.
Jodie Kavensky is no stranger to cancers. She’s not a survivor but a pre-vivor.

” A pre-vivor is a person who knows that they’ve inherited a specific gene mutation and has taken action to reduce their risks,” says Kavensky, founder and CEO of NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative.

Her mother Norma and aunt Leah both died of ovarian cancer.
What she didn’t know was that she had Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome, which heightens the risk of getting both cancers at different times. 

“If we have the testing, the genetic testing, to identify individual risks, then by all means we want to empower women to know that and go out and speak to their medical provider about it,” says Kavensky.

Before her mother died, she told Jodie to do something about the lack of education surrounding cancer, which is why NormaLeah has collaborated with organizations like Gilda’s Club to spread awareness. 

“People don’t realize that different cancers are related to each other so specifically if a woman has ovarian cancer, they are at risk of having a breast cancer diagnosis.Support groups that meet and that just gives people a chance to be in the same room with others going through a similar circumstance and not feel alone in their diagnosis,” says Kelly Hendershot, Gilda’s Club Program Director. 

Kavensky says she’s not only been motivated to educate women and men on ovarian cancer, but also fund cancer research with Gilda’s Club. 

“Here in the quad cities we’ve probably reached about 10,000 women a year through our participation in health and women’s events.”

Screen detection tests along with other surveillance and monitoring techniques are available on their website here. 

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