What is Clearity Foundation?

Friday, August 17, 2012
By, Brandi Morales
The Clearity Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, founded by an ovarian cancer survivor and scientist, Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 and learned first-hand that treatment options are extremely limited. After her chemotherapy treatment ended in 2007, she established The Clearity Foundation along with a small group of friends and colleagues who are on a quest to apply the knowledge of the genetic signature of ovarian cancers to improve treatment options for patients. Dr. Laura Shawver is a biotechnology entrepreneur with 25 years of scientific experience. Her primary focus is in cancer research and drug development.

Based in San Diego, California, Clearity’s mission is to improve treatment options for ovarian cancer patients. We have been profiling tumors for over four years. We have established criteria for the interpretation of the test results to ensure that they are the most relevant. Please click here if you are interested in learning how Clearity can help you and your physician in making more informed decisions about ovarian cancer treatment.

Clearity has had an exciting year thus far and we want you to be a part of it. Read highlights about our past activities and preview upcoming events on our News & Eventspage!

To stay connected with Clearity this summer, follow us on Twitter. It’s a great way to keep in touch and hear about the latest news in the ovarian cancer community.

Like us on Facebook!

For more information or to join our mailing list, please visit: www.clearityfoundation.org

  • Sara

    My name is Amanda Winter; daughter of Vonnie Kelly. My motehr often told me to speak up and share how I felt. This story is a testament to her very spirit and to the beautiful things she passed on to us all. Her generosity was overwhelming. She was the truest friend I ever had. The creation of Charlene’s Light has brought great comfort to me, as I know that I am carrying out my motehr’s wishes to share information and provide support to others. I struggle to wrap words around such an intense family experience like losing a motehr to ovarian cancer. The deep loss of losing a parent is so hard to put into words. Losing my motehr was an incredibly sad and painful journey. The diagnosis, the emotional chaos, watching her battle on a daily basis. Watching her lose. Facing it together with my father. So many questions. So many emotions. Everything so fast.My motehr died on August 5th 2009, just four weeks to the date before my own wedding. The year 2009 came with a whirlwind of events: My father had a triple bypass just a couple of weeks after my motehr suffered a severe stroke, both parents in the hospital at the same time, all the while I lost my good friend at the age of 30 to her own battle with cancer, and preparation for a very special day in my life, my own wedding. A wedding for most women is their dream to have their parents give their blessing and share in the special festivities. For me, it was a day of sadness, as well as, joy. We were so fortunate to have a wedding blessing in the hospital a few days before my motehr passed. I wore my wedding dress while my husband wore his tux; that blessing will live on in my memory forever. While my motehr was unable to attend in person at our wedding, I know she was present in every moment of our special day! Many of my friends were unable to prepare me for the passage rite ahead, simply because they had yet to lose their motehrs. However, I knew other daughters had faced the same heart-piercing loss. I belonged to a sisterhood now—one every woman must eventually join unless her motehr outlives her. Baby showers herald the transition to motehrhood. Roses, greeting cards and invitations to lunch celebrate motehrs every May. Yet, despite our culture’s motehrhood mystique, no rituals mark the psychological journey we daughters begin when our motehrs die.When I see women my age chatting with their motehrs over lunch, I wish them many more outings together. And when I hear that a woman I know has lost her motehr, I do what other women did for me. I write a note, share a memory, offer whatever help I can. I’ve come to accept the yearning that blindsides me when something wonderful happens-a baby’s birth, a wedding-and my motehr cannot share it with me. Today, I speak up about the ovarian cancer foundation. I truly believe it is all about spreading the word. To me, there’s no better way to honor my motehr.Ovarian Cancer is called the silent killer because of the way doctors and women explain away the symptoms as vague. A little bloating, my motehr had rationalized away as a recent change in her diet. The fatigue and lower back pain, simply a symptom of aging. Not until she started to have trouble with moving her hands and difficulty walking because of the swelling in her legs did we know something was definitely wrong. In 2006 after a plea from my motehr and father to receive a referral to Mayo Clinic in Rochester did we determine that she had ovarian cancer. We had no idea the signs and symptoms to look for, and we had never heard of a CA125 test in our lives. But, that very test determined that she had ovarian cancer. While a normal individual should have a CA125 test between 1-30, my motehr’s was well over 1000. She had a very rare form of ovarian cancer called palmar fasciitis in conjunction with ovarian cancer. This silent killer wasn’t silent anymore. We were told the ovarian cancer was in stage IV-C. And so began a very different path for us. The gravity of what was happening all around me was setting in. My motehr and I felt there was a lack of resources. My motehr and I were talkers, as well as, doers. Where did the other woman go to that received this news? Where were the other daughters who had experienced this? Where were the husbands who had to go through this similar pain of being a caregiver? We had wanted to hear their voices, their stories. If not for the wisdom they could impart but also for the solidarity. To know there are others that understand, that can relate, is a great comfort at a time of great chaos. Upon my motehr’s death, I made the decision that I could either be angry that this silent killer took my motehr’s life or I could work hard to do something about it. My search began for a foundation that I could be a part of that could personally touch other women’s lives. I was blessed to find Charlene’s Light, a foundation for ovarian cancer. It was a different kind of foundation. A foundation centered around support for women and hope for caregivers. It truly was a foundation that cares about each and every person. The foundation holds a special place in my heart as I continue to do the work that I can down here while my motehr continues to inspire me from above. My motehr’s compassion to give back in every facet of her life has remained alive in me, and I am passionate about wanting to make a difference in this lifetime. She taught me how to love, how to communicate, how to care for others, but most importantly how to have hope when some days feel hopeless. I have been told many times that I am my motehr’s daughter. We are similar in many ways, our hands, our skin, our tireless effort to make a difference and help others. Does this mean we have similar ovaries? Before my motehr passed, she did suggest I see a gynecological oncologist so this question could be addressed. I cannot urge women enough to seek another opinion if your doctor tells you not to worry or that nothing is wrong. YOU know your bodies best. I went to see my own gynecologist, informed her of my new family history and was met with care and understanding. I was told to have CA-125 BLOOD TEST every year. Heredity and ovarian cancer leave much gray area. I am at an elevated risk for ovarian cancer. I have to pay attention. It is unthinkable to ignore the lesson my motehr’s late diagnosis is trying to teach. I don’t want to face it. I have to. I don’t want to believe that I too could have to leave my family prematurely. I want to see my own children and grandchildren. I can’t look away any more. I have to face this ovarian cancer. I have to outsmart it. I have to help others navigate these same waters. I’m on the offense now.Time above all other things has helped to heal me. I have come to learn that there are things you can do to stop ovarian cancer. You can make people aware of its presence. You can educate doctors. You can educate yourself. Ovarian cancer has taken from me one of my greatest gifts, my motehr. In response I have committed to fighting back against it. I do so in the name of my motehr, Vonnie, a beautiful example of a courageous woman who battled her own journey so that others could learn from her example. I do so in the name of all women both past, present and future!

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