Teal, a color popularly used in modern weddings and the old cultural practices and artwork of South America, takes on a new symbolism on Sept. 30, the “Wear Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness” day. While this day exists separately from the College, happening worldwide on Sept. 2 of this year, the College will celebrate the day on Sept. 30, in memory of Kimberlee Shonk, a College of Charleston student who passed away in January of this year as a result of ovarian cancer.
Shonk, 20, was a biology major with plans of going to medical school when she underwent an operation to remove an ovary, and learned there was a cancerous tumor present. She continued her studies at the College while enduring chemotherapy and medications with an upbeat attitude full of optimism, writing all the while, hoping her story would help others be aware of the symptoms, in hopes of helping them avoid a late diagnosis.
Her wish will be fulfilled today, when Wear Teal Day comes in full swing, with whistles being distributed at 11:55 a.m. for a “Break the Silence” moment, and a table being set up at Cougar Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where people can sign a condolence book for Kimberlee’s family.
Each year, around 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 15,000 women die from it. It is one of the five leading causes of death among women in the United States. Symptoms include bloating, difficulty eating, pelvic or abdominal pain and urinary symptoms. Chance of survival is better if detected early, but unfortunately, late diagnosis is common. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and for more information on ovarian cancer, visit lowcountrywomenwithwings.org.