Beth Prout Lennon remembers when her mother, Maureen Prout, was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2002.
Maureen was told, “Only 5 percent of people make it.” Her response to the life altering news was, “Well, somebody has to be that 5 percent!” For the next five years and throughout more than 100 chemotherapy treatments, Maureen’s enthusiasm was an inspiration to all who came in contact with her.
Encouraged by her mother’s positive outlook after an aggressive ovarian cancer diagnoses, Beth is following in her mother’s footsteps, cofounding the DeCesaris/Prout Cancer Foundation. In partnership with JoAnn DeCesaris Wellington, whose father Geaton DeCesaris was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002, these daughters are on a mission to profoundly affect research on lung and ovarian cancer.
They want to bring awareness to those who do not know they are at risk, and make a difference in these diseases through better treatment options.
“Our hope is, with awareness, people can recognize the symptoms in the early stages of both these life-threatening diseases, and get the treatment they need,” says Beth.
Beth, of Friendship, shared that her mother’s faith and close relationships with her family, friends and her care team helped her through her journey with cancer. During her treatment, Maureen was determined to support others battling cancer. She shared her experiences with others and made herself available to anyone who needed help or just an ear to listen.
New ovarian cancer support program
During Maureen’s care, she and her family met single moms who had to walk home after treatments because they didn’t have anyone to pick them up or didn’t have money for cab fare. They met other mothers that were worried about affording groceries for their children and still others who needed babysitters to watch their children during treatments. Despite facing her own disease, Maureen spent time and energy helping others she met along the way.
In the fall of 2016, the DeCesaris/Prout Foundation provided initial funding for a new Ovarian Cancer Support Program for patients undergoing treatment at AAMC’s Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute.
“This incredible gift will support a woman’s unique emotional, spiritual and social needs and has the power to help balance the everyday challenges women face while undergoing treatment and beyond,” says Cathy Copertino, AAMC’s vice president of cancer services.
Beth feels that she is honoring her mother’s legacy of compassion and caring through the establishment of this new program.
“We want this Survivors Fund to help those women and their families who need a bus ticket, grocery gift card, or other needed services during this difficult time,” says Beth. “My mom would be very happy today, to know that her inspiration is helping other women manage their cancer journey.”
To learn more about how you can make a difference in cancer survivorship programs at AAMC, contact 443-481-4747 or AAMCFoundation@AAHS.org .