During Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month we feel like it’s so important to talk about all GYN cancers. I couldn’t let this month end without talking about ovarian cancer. I’ve been trying to come up with the right words all week to describe my beautiful friend Carey who passed away this summer. I feel like I should honor her with the perfect words and they just aren’t coming to me, perhaps I’m just too sad that she’s not here.
I miss her. Carey was a wonderful Mom to her two boys. She loved her sorority. She was one of the fiercest ovarian cancer advocates I knew and now she’s gone. I hate that. I hate cancer. What I love is that Carey was a team player, always supportive and always sharing our Cervivor message. She was witty, smart and a girl’s girl.
I’m honoring Carey the best way I know how. By sharing her story and painting my toes teal. Please take a moment to learn more about my amazing friend Carey and her organization, Teal Toes. It’s not too late to paint your toes teal!
The following was taken, in part, from Teal Toes.
Carey Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, died on June 15, 2015, at her home in Bethesda, Maryland, with her family by her side. She had ovarian cancer. Carey was the founder, president and animating spirit of Teal Toes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
Carey was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2006. In the years that followed, she pursued her vision of using fun—painting toenails teal — for the serious purpose of educating women and men to the subtle signs of ovarian cancer. (Teal is the color for ovarian cancer awareness.) Carey founded Teal Toes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of ovarian cancer. Teal Toes creates a way for survivors and friends alike to show solidarity and support for ovarian cancer survivors, and to use an unusual color to spark conversations about symptom awareness.
Teal Toes has reached tens of thousands of people nationally and internationally, distributing more than 400,000 symptom awareness cards since its inception. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance awarded Carey the Cindy Melancon Spirit Award for 2015 in honor of her courage, passion, and tireless work on behalf of the ovarian cancer community. Teal Toes has become embedded in the national conversation about ovarian cancer.
Carey lived life to the fullest, before and after her diagnosis. She loved her red Mustang convertible, the Beatles, the Carolina Tar Heels, mint chocolate chip ice cream, poodles and much more. She was an avid traveler, introducing her sons, Elijah and Sam, to diverse cultures through frequent trips around the world. Most of all, Carey was an extraordinary mother to her sons, and wife to the love of her life, her husband Andrew.
Near the end of her life, she wrote: “All you need is love. It has been true for me. I didn’t have beauty, fame, success or other things like that, but I did have the love of family and friends that made me what I was and sustained me when things were rough. Please continue to apply that love to each other. And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”