Meet the Two Jennies!
Jennie McGihon and Jenny Allen, 2013 National Race Co-Chairs and Survivors of Ovarian and Uterine Cancer
At 32, Jennie McGihon was the picture of health and fitness. When she started experiencing irregular bleeding, it took a year of tests and initial misdiagnoses before the true cause was found: stage III ovarian cancer that metastasized to her colon and bladder and stage I uterine cancer.
Two life-altering surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy later, Jennie has been cancer free for almost four years. As a result of her diagnosis and treatment experience, Jennie has become a passionate advocate for raising awareness about and critical research funds for gynecologic cancers.
Jennie, who is the Institutional Giving Director, Women’s and Children’s, for Inova Health Foundation, served as the Race’s Survivors Chair in 2011, Survivors Co-Chair in 2012 and now National Race Co-Chair in 2013.
Jennie is featured in a print PSA as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Inside Knowledge gynecologic cancers campaign. She also volunteers with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s Survivors Teaching Students program, speaking regularly to medical students about the signs and symptoms of GYN cancer, and how they can best treat patients with respect and dignity.
Read more about Jennie’s remarkable journey on the blog she kept during her treatment, Are You There Cancer? It’s Me, Jennie.
Jenny Allen, Writer & Monologist
Jenny Allen‘s essays and articles have appeared for years in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York, Vogue, Esquire, More, Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping.
I Got Sick Then I Got Better – Jenny’s funny, soulful one-woman show about her harrowing journey following her diagnosis of ovarian and uterine cancer — has been seen in theaters, hospitals, universities and at cancer conferences around the country. We are thrilled that Jenny will perform her show on Saturday, November 2nd during the Foundation for Women’s Cancer free survivors course at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington, DC. (More information on Survivor Courses coming soon.)
Jenny Allen received the 2010 “It’s Always Something” award from Gilda’s Club NYC, and serves on the board of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. She is also featured in print and television PSA’s as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s gynecologic cancers campaign.
Pamela Mielnik is 2013 Survivors Chair
Two years ago, Pamela Mielnik was a young (37), healthy marathon runner who ate well and had never smoked. On her return from three years abroad in Europe, she started to miss periods. Because Pamela did not fit the usual profile for problems, her gynecologist monitored her for several months — until she began experiencing irregular bleeding. An ultrasound detected polyps, and pathology results following a routine hysteroscopy showed that Pamela had Stage 1, Grade 3 endometrial cancer.
Six weeks after diagnosis, Pamela suffered nerve damage during surgery that left her without any movement in one leg, which led to three weeks of intensive physical therapy. Her pelvic floor had also been damaged, but six months of grueling weekly therapy had her walking and functioning normally again by last fall — in time to participate as a walker in the 2012 National Race!
Pam also received chemotherapy and brachytherapy radiation treatments and credits her doctors’ dynamic, comprehensive approach with literally getting her back on her feet. Incredibly, she continued to work throughout her treatments and hospitalizations.
Pamela is a one-year survivor and represents all survivors battling to defeat GYN cancers. She wants to help raise awareness and research funding to improve prevention, diagnostic and treatment options.
Pam still has the same dreams and aspirations she had two years ago but knows they will be tempered by circumstance. She is infinitely grateful to her doctors and to everyone who supported her in every possible way. “You cannot go this path alone!”
Join the two Jennies and Pam to help save women’s lives by registering for the 2013 National Race to End Women’s Cancer. Whether you can participate in person or only in spirit , registering for the race (or donating in support of another runner or team) helps raise awareness and research funding to prevent, detect, treat and defeat gynecologic cancers.
Together, we CAN make a difference! Thank you!
“I learned about being a survivor from my mom, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was seven. 30 years later, she continues to inspire me every day.” ~Jennie McGihon
“Women’s cancers have been in the shadows far too long. But we’ll see a day soon, I think, when all women, and the healthcare professionals who care for them, will be aware of the vital importance of recognizing the symptoms, improving the treatments, and working toward a cure. Events like the National Race keep us moving forward.” ~Jenny Allen
“I still have the dreams and aspirations I had two years ago but know they will be tempered by circumstance. I eat an even healthier diet, continue to exercise (thankfully I can) and hope to marry and have a family. I am infinitely grateful to my doctors and to all my team who supported me in every possible way. You cannot go this path alone!” ~Pamela Mielnik