“But those who Hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
- Isaiah 40:31

Greetings Fall Friends,

This heat has certainly been one for the record books! Perhaps you have been like us and lost interest in the garden and flower beds after the first 50 days with over 100 degree + weather. Whatever survived in the flowerbed and garden has every right to take over as far as we are concerned. We at HOPE in Oklahoma made the most of the hot weather and had the best member meetings. If you’ve missed a meeting for any reason there is no time like the present to get back on track this fall.

Fall is a time where we prepare for the winter, get organized, and make plans. At the writing of this letter the Nomination’s Committee is working to select officers and Board Members to pick up where others have left off. Each year we have an opportunity to fine tune and revise our schedules, program offerings and better serve our members. It has been a pleasure to serve you!
Connie Covington and Rochelle Converse


The first annual HOPE In OK5K was held Saturday, September 10, 2011, at the Redhawks Field in Bricktown. The event was a USATF sanctioned race and huge success! We had over 300 participants, definitely more than we ever expected for our first year! We still have generous donations and entrant monies funneling in, but we are looking at a profit of well over $10,000.00!! This money is designated to help promote education and awareness!! We included HOPE symptom cards for both ovarian and cervical cancer in the packet that each entrant received. We hope you continue to embrace the 5K and will help
make it more and more successful each year, by showing your support and attending or donating to this event.

In case you weren’t there, you missed the awesome photographer taking before, during and after the event pictures, the incredible DJ who kept the crowd on their feet, the amazing volunteers (at least 100)-couldn’t have done it without them, Dr. and Mrs. Mannel placing in their age groups in the 5K and of course all the outstanding entrants! The overall male winner was a 15 year- old from Edmond and the overall female winner was a 26 year-old from Oklahoma City! They each received a brand new pair of shoes-that were donated! We could go on and on, but look at some of the pictures that Rochelle has included in the newsletter. More pictures to follow on the HOPE In OK5K website soon!! www.wix.com/hopeinok5k/2011

To put together an event like this, there are a lot of hoops to jump through and fires to put out, and we want to recognize all the people who made this so extraordinary. This group of 12 had never put together an event like this before; we were all “newbies”. We started out meeting monthly, then went to twice a month, then went to weekly. This event would not have been possible without the generous devoted time and hard work from the committee members: Kari Baker, Keli Barbee, Amber Bellew, Christyn Byler, Josh Byler, Marilyn Dewey, Melain Eavenson, Christine Johnston, Dana Kilmer, Emily McGraw, Lori Nichols, and Ashley Waller. Thank you to ALL the above committee members for all your hard work! If we can save just one life, this is all worth it!


"Real success is not on the stage, but off the stage as a human being, and how you get along with your fellow man. ” – Sammy Davis Jr.


Hello Summer Friends,   

I’ve always liked summer even though it’s not my favorite season.  When my boys were still home the heat didn’t seem to be such a big deal.  We enjoyed going to the lake or taking even a short trip to someplace we‘d never been before (and it didn’t matter where).

This is also the time of year that I begin to think back to all those years and wonder where the time went. My grandchildren are the ones going to the lake and taking short trips, it’s what is better known as “MAKING MEMORIES.” Something we all need to continue to do.

The summer for some of us means not being able to be out for too long due to the heat or other reasons. This summer for me will be like déjà vu  Summer of 2008.   I found out in May that my cancer has decided to come back into the picture.  I’ve already started treatment and so the Summer of 2011 begins with some disappointment but, not a big surprise. This time around I knew what was going on almost from the start. The symptoms are there.  We know what they are.  It’s just this time, I listened.

Having a recurrence is something no one wants; it can shake the very foundation a person stands on.  I’m not sure how helpful it would be for some, but for me going back and reading again about ovarian cancer, I’ve learned a recurrence for me with the stage I was diagnosed with could happen, so now we deal with it.  My attitude is somewhat better this time around.  

The one thing I am certain of is that being in a support group was a wise decision on my part.  At first I just didn’t feel like making the effort, but after meeting the LADIES OF HOPE I quickly changed my mind.  These women are so warm and wonderful and I have learned so much from them over the last two and half years that all I can say is “HIGH FIVE TO YOU!”

I’m going to make the most of this summer even if I am in treatment and would hope that each of you do the same.  A very good friend of mind told me once (actually she told me this a lot) no matter what you do it’s just about making memories.

So enjoy your summer and make some memories, Connie

Tracy Alvarez Speaks at April Meeting

Tracy Alvarez was our April 2, 2011 Members Monthly Meeting speaker and shared with the group about her many talents, skills and wisdom while working with children and adults in crisis and prevention modes.  Tracy works as the Title IV Safe and Drug Free School Coordinator for Oklahoma City Public Schools, but also shared her personal experiences as a caregiver of a family member with cancer.  What an inspiration and blessing to our members.  We all walked away with a better understanding and belief in our own contributions to wellness and attitude.  For further information you may contact Tracy at 587-0000. 

Tracy Alvarez giving feedback to Donna Bacon, Marilyn Dewey and Betty Dresseen as they take a wellness survey.

Annual Spring Retreat of HOPE

 On April 29 – May 1, 2011, HOPE in Oklahoma hosted it annual retreat with the theme:  Hope Along the Way- Renewing the Spirit of Hope.  We were treated royally at the Montford Inn, in Norman, Oklahoma. Co-Chairs Odra Pratt and Cynthia Van Curen along with their committee members Anne Pederson and Jean Allee provided a wonderful program.  It was a great delight to welcome back and hear Dr. Rhonda Johnson.  The Retreat also included speakers: Dr. Lisa Landrum and she was so kind to include her friend Dr. Brenda Smith.  We had a wonderful time and you’ll see quotes from the participants throughout the newsletter.  Many thanks are given to the Odra, Cynthia and Anne for providing the best sessions and activities throughout the weekend.   

Greeting cards were created and sent to members who may not have been able to attend.  You were sorely missed!  Also, cards were crafted for the Nurses at the Chemo Clinic, Doctor’s Office and Research Center and hand delivered by Cynthia and Rochelle, along with cookie trays donated by Odra and Rochelle to honor our skilled and most treasured helpers on National Nurses’ Day, Wednesday, May 4, 2011.   We had a great time interacting, supporting and blessing each other.  The only thing missing was YOU!  See you next year.

Lori Turner Speaks at May Meeting

                        What is Art Therapy?  Well we experienced it first-hand with our May Speaker, Lori Turner.  Lori, a retired school counselor has a thriving practice in Norman, where she provides clients with Art Therapy.  Lori shared information about the history and qualification of the therapist as well as types of therapy and then stepped right in with the activities.  Each participant created a special and secret box, where we put our treasured thoughts, mementos and feelings.  The outside was representative of our visible self, what we shared with others as well as our attitudes.  Lori came well equipped with every sort of material and trinket one would want to add to their boxes.  We especially enjoyed being spoiled with the gift of a bracelet.   You are the best Lori!

Lori Turner bringing out all of her Art Therapy materials for the Ladies of Hope!

Lynne Roller – Our Guest as the June Speaker

 Members were treated to speaker Lynne Roller, Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum this last month.  Lynne shared the history of the museum, it’s10th year anniversary of the Museum and stories turning tragedy to triumph, one that we could all identify with in some way.  She was most artful in her poignant retelling of First Stories of Survivors, Family Members or Responders.  The Museum offers speakers each month and has a host of program offerings for adults and students. If you are interested in visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum you will want to check out their link www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org

Lynne Roller and Cynthia Van Curen during a question and answer segment of presentation. 

Recognizing Nurses at the Chemo Room, Clinic and Research Center for National Nurses’ Day – We Love and Appreciate You All! 

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. 

  • Mother Teresa

    Hope in Oklahoma Statement of Activitiy

    2010 was a busy year for HOPE in Oklahoma.  Our primary areas of concern and responsibility included emotional support, outreach, education and awareness.

    In the area of emotional support, we held 12 monthly support meetings with an average attendance of 16.  In addition members of the support group met for dinner in local restaurants eleven times.  In April we held our annual weekend retreat, which was attended by 13 women.  Cards and flowers were sent to a number of women throughout the year.

    In September we had our annual Walk of HOPE. Approximately 150 survivors, caregivers and families of both survivors and those who lost their battle with gynecologic cancer were in attendance.  It is a time to celebrate the lives of the survivors and remember those who are gone. 

    Outreach includes the chemo room gift bag program, pillow project for newly diagnosed gynecologic cancer patients, financial assistance throughout HOPE helps program and our quarterly newsletter. 

    Our gift bag program provides gift bags to women in chemotherapy at the OU Medical Center.  These bags contain HOPE ballcap, bracelet, magnet, candy, educational literature sample-size toiletries.  Giving gift bags to the women enables them to tell about their journey with cancer and to ask questions of a survivor and lets them know that there is support available.  One hundred five gift bags were given out in 2010. 

    The pillow project provides pillows to the gynecologic cancer surgery patients at Presbyterian Hospital.  Nurses distribute the pillows.  The teal pillows are imprinted with the HOPE logo and are made by members of the support group.  On the back is a picture and biographical sketch of a member of the support group.  She invites the patient to call her with any questions or concerns she may have or just to talk to someone who understand her situation.  In 2010, about 45 pillows were distributed. 

    Our quarterly newsletter is also included in outreach.  The newsletter contains informative articles, pictures and coverage of HOPE activities, as well as listing of upcoming events.  The newsletter is mailed to over 400 supporters and survivors.  It is also available in the chemotherapy room and the waiting room and exam rooms at the OU Gynecologic Oncology Clinic in Oklahoma City.

    HOPE Helps provides financial assistance to Oklahoma women undergoing treatment for gynecologic cancer.  In 2010 we were able to give assistance to three women in need.

    Our education and awareness program continues to be very active.  In January we undertook a very aggressive program to help educate the women of Oklahoma about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.  We distribute this information at all of our literature displays; however, we felt that if the cards were made available to doctors, and the doctors gave them to women, it would be more effective.  We mailed packets of 50 cards to 1,875 family physicians, gynecologists and internists in the state, for a total of 93,750 cards.  The doctors were invited to request more cards as needed.  During the balance of 2010, we mailed out an additional 1,450 ovarian symptom cards to doctors. 

    Cervical cancer is the most preventable of the gynecologic cancers.  Over 99% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV.  Yearly PAP tests can detect a potential problem before it becomes cancerous.  Also being immunized for HPV can reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.  In December we printed 10,000 cervical//HPV information cards to be distributed at our literature displays to remind women to get their yearly PAP test and consider immunization for their young sons and daughters. 

    We had educational literature displays at the Oklahoma City Home & Garden Show, People Connected by Cancer, the Breast Cancer Event at the Capitol Building, the Tulsa Home & Garden Show, the Good Times Expo, the Community Health Fair, the Capitol Safety & Health Expo and the Payne County Arts & Crafts Show.  We made contact with over 4,075 women, giving them information that will help them recognize the symptoms of gynecologic cancers and hopefully result in earlier diagnoses and longer lives.

                   Prepared by Marilyn M. Dewey

                   January 16, 2011

    Total Income








    Emotional Support




    Total Expenses



Summer 2011 Newsletter


Happy Spring Greetings,

 After the many snowy days we’ve all endured it seems only fitting that Spring be welcomed with bursts of Jonquils and Crocus stretching to the sun.  Bradford Pears are blooming now and Redbuds are gorgeous.  Daylight savings time will give us another few hours of daylight to get it all done. 

I love every season, but Spring came just in time.  We hope this newsletter finds you enjoying the longer rays of the sun and anxious to know the happenings of HOPE in Oklahoma.   

Connie and I are both enjoying getting to know the workings of the organization while finding our own paths.  We’ve both grown so much from our participation in the group and genuinely want you to share in HOPE in Oklahoma through support of the monthly meetings, Hope Night Out for survivors and those undergoing treatment as well as their caregivers, joining in the annual Spring Retreat with its many benefiting speakers and activities, and interacting with others in supporting the Mission and Goals of the Group.  Your membership in Hope will Bless you as it has us all. 

There truly is something for everyone.  Personally, I’ve always favored the monthly get-togethers.  And, while I wasn’t able to attend initially after being invited by my friend from Chemo, as soon as I felt up to it, I was front and center. 

You see, I know that I do best when I am growing; growing in knowledge and surrounded by others who like to learn and who are learning from doing.  So my journey with cancer would be no different.  I relied upon friends to bounce ideas off, learn about how treatments affected others and share our experiences. 

Gayle Jones, our speaker for March shared with us some ideas about wellness from an article by Nancy Rubel, Ph.D.  Rubel reminds us that we should listen and care for ourselves.    She discussed how we should connect with others.  Specifically, use our own resources to help process our reactions.  Talk about it with peers, friends and colleagues.  Balance group time with solitude, feed the soul but at the same time watch our nutrition, as short-term comfort foods may have lasting and unwanted effects; practice skills to stay in the present, notice the seasons, play with the kids, look for the beauty and joy, and watch how our feelings and reactions come and go as we release physically so that tension doesn’t build up as well as to let loose with outdoor activities, dance and/or exercise. 

I know that I need both:  fellowship with family and friends and also solitude.  So I don’t feel guilty, nor should you, when you turn off the news, log off (yes!) refrain from checking your email every 30 seconds and spend quiet time reflecting on yourself so you may pray and meditate on regrouping.  Find your balance. 

As I finish writing this newsletter, I’m vacationing out of state and trying out a little of Rubel’s balancing advice:  No meetings, no emails (almost) and no traffic.  Also, I’m practicing my new hobby with the camera a little, and I hope you enjoy the pictures.  I thought of you when I took them! 

In closing, as we transition to our new officers and board, I want to extend a very special thank you to Marilyn Dewey, Past President and the Board for their service to the organization over the last two years.  We have all benefitted from their passion to provide stimulating and engaging programs and ultimately making a difference in lives of women in Oklahoma. THANK YOU!

            Beverly Reardon, Speaker for January Meeting

           Beverly Reardon kicked off our New Year by speaking to the group about her work with the OU Presbyterian Hospital and OU Physician’s Doctor’s Office by training medical students in properly diagnosing patients by actively listening to them.  Beverly is a retired kindergarten teacher from the Oklahoma City Public Schools.   Who better than a kindergarten teacher to model how to listen to others?  Beverly also shared her survivor experiences with Breast Cancer 19 years ago.  She was such an inspiration to everyone in attendance.  


Gayle Jones Speaks at March Meeting

                        Gayle was a breath of fresh air after our February Meeting was snowed out!  Gayle shared with us her favorite book, “Bounce,” and how the word ‘resilience’ has spoken to her not only in her work with adult learning and school safety, but with survivors and our journey with cancer.  She wasted no time in maneuvering us all into our preferred playful and child like nature, playing with all kinds of toys.  What with bubble blowing, rubber band shooting, squeezing stress, reducing toys and a creating a list of comfortable things to build in our care baskets, we quickly moved to a paper and pencil test! Not the test you could study for, but one that might shed some light on how you respond to and handle stress, problems and hardships.  After reviewing our answers, Gayle took us on a journey of the five aspects of resilience and how being: positive, focused, flexible, organized and proactive, but more importantly, balanced amongst these characteristics was greatly needed.  As Gayle shared, the best strategy was to flex our muscles in each of these areas so that when called upon we were able to use our strengths when most necessary to address the challenges we are facing.  Fun was had by all!  I’m betting that more than one of us purchased some toys for ourselves after we left the meeting.  Yes, they aren’t just for kids anymore.  But, of course you can always say you bought the toys for your grandkids or the kids next door. 


Spring 2011 Newsletter