Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

July 18, 2010

The 4th of July has come and gone. It has come to mark not only our birth and independence as a nation, but also marks the beginning of the end of summer, at least for adults. It’s a psychological thing but it impacts our behavior. “It can’t be the 4th of July already, where did summer go?” We say that with such surprise, as if summer has taken a holiday and gone somewhere. When we were kids we didn’t associate the 4th of July as the beginning of the end of summer, it served more as an awareness of the importance that each day of summer has in fulfilling our dreams. Summer provided us with a sense of freedom rarely felt during the rest of the year. We were free after all, free of school and homework and free to do whatever we wanted, or so we thought. Summer seemed nearly endless. Growing up is probably the worst thing that ever happened to me; it came with much responsibility, no operators’ manual, and not enough play days.  

Weather or Not

Today is hot, low 90’s, dry, not a cloud in the sky, a typical high desert summer day. A couple of weeks ago HERA’s Climb4Life Colorado event took place and you couldn’t see five feet in front of your face, the rain was coming down so hard and heavy. The hail piled up like snow; a snow shovel in June was crazy weather. So what do you do with an outdoor climbing and hiking event during torrential rains, you make lemonade. Climbers moved indoors thanks to Boulder Rock Club (BRC) and Colorado Mountain School (CMS) “guided” and instructed under a roof instead of under the sky. Not quite the great outdoors as planned, but it was a great experience and people had a really good time. Ah, but the ever-tough hikers hit the trail despite the endless rain and loved every muddy minute of it. Participants from this year’s Climb4Life Colorado event will reflect back and may remember it as the wettest event they have ever attended, but they will definitely remember it as the event where they really had the chance to get to know other event participants in new ways. And it certainly will be remembered as the Climb4Life Colorado where Maggie Luck, ovarian cancer survivor, climber, and hiker extraordinaire, captivated us all with the story of her personal journey with ovarian cancer and her incredible strength, wit, warmth, and tenacity. Our Climb4Life series moves next to Utah for the 9th Annual Climb4Life Utah, September 16th-19th. Registration is open at, click on the link on the right hand side.


The mere phrase takes me back to high school quicker than just about anything other than bobby socks. Regardless of the impact of the phrase, one thing I do this time of year, long before the bbq, potato salad, watermelon, and cherry pie have been served and the fireworks exploded, is review how the first half of the year has gone. It’s my mid-term organizational assessment to see where and if we need to make adjustments to finish the year successfully.

In my look back over these past six months I see many non-profit organizations that have seen a drop in fundraising, and HERA has not been exempt from this trend. This has proved to be a difficult year from a fundraising standpoint, with many supporters indicating that their giving is down because their future financial picture is uncertain and they are pulling back. In other areas these past six months have been groundbreaking for HERA: we awarded our largest-ever single grant to researcher Dr. Kwong K. Wong at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who is looking at Type I/low-grade ovarian cancer; we awarded three OSB1 (outside the box thinking) grants to Ph.D. and M.D. fellows at Johns Hopkins University; we just awarded four Community Grants to four ovarian cancer organizations located throughout the country that enables them to reach a wider audience in their efforts to save women’s lives; we have distributed over 50,000 symptoms cards and symptom hang tags; and we have done outreach at numerous community events around the country. These are just a few of the important things that we have done so far this year at HERA to help save women’s lives from ovarian cancer.

Many organizations are seeing that outreach/services are up and income is down, leaving an imbalance. We had great participation at Climb4Life Colorado, but fundraising was down by over 50% and at Climb4Life Metro DC we also saw a 50% drop in fundraising. These are challenging times for nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and individuals alike; we see it daily in reading the paper or listening to the news. Unemployment is a major challenge for the country, the economy is unsettled, credit remains tight, consumer spending is low, foreclosure rates are high. The impact is felt far and wide.

At HERA we continue to confront the challenges head-on as we look for alternative and creative ways to accomplish our mission. We want to see a reliable screening test for ovarian cancer since we know that early detection makes a huge difference in survival rates. And of course, we want a cure. Until that time we continue to get the word out, to empower women and men alike to be aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and to be our ambassadors spreading the word. Please be an ambassador and help spread the word about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. And, if you can, please make a donation today (click here to make an online donation now at Our work isn’t possible without your collaboration and support. Thank you.

Now get out there and play! Summer is nearly over and the “fish are jumpin’!”
Danni Lederman
Executive Director

Most Common Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:

  • Abdominal pressure, bloating, or discomfort
  • Nausea, indigestion, or gas
  • Urinary frequency, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Shortness of breath

Other symptoms can include indigestion, back pain, bowel problems, abnormal bleeding or unusual fatigue. Take action if they last more than 2-3 weeks and they are unusual for you. For more information go to our website,

Please consider a donation to the HERA Foundation and support our work to stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer. It’s easy, click here,, which will direct you to the HERA Foundation website allowing you to make a safe and secure online donation, or mail a check if you prefer.  Just click the “donate” button, then “make a gift now” and you are on your way to helping save women’s lives in just three simple steps. Also please review the symptoms of ovarian cancer on the HERA site and share with friends. If you have any questions please write to or call (970) 948-7360. Thank you!

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