HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Susyn Timko was joined by dozens of township employees and volunteers Thursday morning who helped to "Turn the Town Teal" and commemorate National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Timko, a local musician, has coordinated the national program in Hillsborough for the past ten years in memory of her mother who died from ovarian cancer.
Timko and her helpers gathered on the plaza outside the township’s Peter Biondi municipal complex to cut and tie the teal ribbons to trees and poles throughout the complex.
They began the task at 9 a.m. and were finished in 90 minutes.
Turn The Towns Teal® is a national campaign to promote awareness of ovarian cancer, its subtle symptoms and risk factors. There is no conclusive early detection test for ovarian cancer which is why this awareness campaign is so very critical.
During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, volunteers call attention to this disease by tying ribbons in various locations like town centers, businesses, places of worship, neighborhoods and on their individual properties.
Turn The Towns Teal was founded by Gail MacNeil of Chatham, who was inspired by her own experiences.
During MacNeil's ten-year battle with ovarian cancer, she realized first-hand that not enough was being done to publicize the symptoms of the disease. She wanted to spare others what she and her family endured. MacNeil was fastidious about her health and went to her gynecologist on three separate occasions complaining of classic symptoms; however, her doctor dismissed these symptoms as merely the onset of middle age. On Dec. 23, 1997 she was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer.
MacNeil had laid the foundation of Turn The Towns Teal® and set forth certain guidelines for the campaign including the requirement that ribbons be put up in the beginning of September and taken down at the end of the month. She also required that volunteers receive written approval from their towns about placement of the ribbons. She started this campaign in 2007 at which time 40 towns in New Jersey participated. By 2015, the organization was active in all 50 states as well as in Canada and Bermuda.
Today, the campaign is being carried forward by The MacNeil Family and a group of dedicated volunteers.
To learn more about this organization visit the website at www.turnthetownsteal.org
MacNeil was also a co-founder of The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation (KOH) in May 2000, along with two other ovarian cancer survivors, Lois Myers and Patricia Stewart-Busso. KOH’s mission is to raise funds for ovarian cancer research and increase awareness of the symptoms of the disease.
Since its inception, KOH has contributed more than $2 million dollars to organizations and institutions involved in ovarian cancer research and disease advocacy.