A legion of women — and even some men — donning bright blue-green apparel fought back against ovarian cancer by breaking a sweat in Prospect Park on Saturday.
Thousands of people turned out for the fifth annual walk and run in Brooklyn’s backyard put on by the organization T.E.A.L — or Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer — to help raise awareness about the deadly disease and to fund research for it.
This year was the first time that the group hosted a 5-kilometer, or 3.5-mile, timed run around the greenspace before supporters of all ages stepped off for the non-competitive walk, which consisted of a loop around the park.
Walkers and runners, including many ovarian cancer survivors, dressed head to toe in teal — the color of the critical disease — to shine a light on ovarian cancer, which is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Ovarian cancer awareness is so important because there’s no accurate screening test for it,” said the organization’s co-founder Pamela Esposito-Amery. “Most women don’t know this and think that when they go for their annual exams that they are being tested.”
Esposito-Amery started the organization in 2009 with her now-late sister Louisa M. McGregor, who lost her four-year battle with the disease in 2011.
“[Ovarian cancer] is usually caught too late and that’s why awareness is so important to us,” she said.
At the awareness event, complete with live music, nearly 100 ovarian cancer survivors were honored on stage at the Prospect Park band shell during a special ceremony where they received a single white rose from the parents of McGregor and Espostio-Amery.
The event is currently the largest ovarian cancer walk and run in New York City, according to organizers. Since the group’s inception, it has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars that directly benefited ovarian cancer research and awareness programs.
Just days before the walk and run, in honor September being national Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Brooklyn Borough Hall was lit teal for the first time.