Teal party! Locals usher in decade of ovarian-cancer fund-raising with P’Park walk • Brooklyn Paper

Teal party! Locals usher in decade of ovarian-cancer fund-raising with P’Park walk

Teal for two: Grace Vallejo and her dog, Charley, strode through Prospect Park on Saturday during the Teal Ovarian Cancer Community Center’s 10th-annual 5k walk-run fund-raiser.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

They had a teal good time!

Do-gooders decked out in the blue-green color stepped through Prospect Park on Saturday to celebrate a decade of fund-raising for ovarian-cancer research and awareness.

Participants in the Teal Ovarian Cancer Community Center’s 10th-annual 5k run-walk strode side-by-side with those battling the deadly disease as well as survivors, and the camaraderie is a big reason why many return each year, according to a seven-time walker, whom doctors diagnosed with the deadly disease in 2010.

“It’s so relieving to know there are survivors out there who have fought, and continue to do so,” said Julia Leonardi, who traveled from faraway New Jersey to the event. “The day is so special for me.”

Leonardi, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, captained her Pixie Power team on their trek through the green space, before joining fellow ovarian-cancer patients and those who’ve kicked the illness on stage during a special ceremony as part of the festivities.

The tribute reminded her that she is not alone in her ongoing fight, according to Leonardi, who said she lost her mom to cancer four-and-a-half years ago, and takes care of a brother with multiple sclerosis even as she seeks treatment for her illness.

“In plain English, I don’t have time for this s—,” Leonardi said about her cancer.

Another repeat attendee and ovarian-cancer patient who took time to walk while in town for chemotherapy treatments at a Manhattan hospital agreed that hearing survivors’ stories is a powerful component of the day.

“It’s inspiring and encouraging to hear people have outlived their diagnosis by 15, 20 years,” said Denise Gonzalez, who came all the way from Albany for the walk in the park.

The event raised nearly $140,000 to fund various research and awareness programs, according to the Windsor Terrace–based Teal Center’s website, and Gonzalez hopes her contributions to that pot will lead to eradicating the disease among women once and for all, she said.

“If I could be a small part of it, I think it’s rewarding to know,” Gonzalez said.

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