J. Kathleen Thompson lost her sister to ovarian cancer and now she is on a mission to raise awareness and counter the disease with a cross-Canada bicycle ride.

On July 2, Thompson will arrive in Hawkesbury, an overnight stop on her way to Halifax.

The stats on ovarian cancer are devastating, yet funding remains woefully inadequate. One in two women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die within five years and more research is needed. The lack of a reliable screening method and difficulty of detection in the early stages are factors that contribute to low survival rate.

Thompson’s sister, Sheila Rae Trautman, Kamloops, B.C., died at age 59 in November 2018, three-and-a-half after diagnosis. Trautman was an athlete, coach, mother and educational assistant who modelled the values of perseverance and service, values that have motivated Thompson to do this ride.

“I hope this ride can help other women and their families understand the measures that can be taken to avert ovarian cancer, or at least improve the outcome of such a diagnosis,” says Thompson. “My sister’s story attests to what needs to be improved in ovarian cancer screening, and treatment, as well as a call for Canadians to ask for more funding and action to protect women at risk of developing this disease.”
Thompson, a retired teacher from Christina Lake, is a seasoned long-distance cyclist who also rode the Pamir Highway in Central Asia in 2018. The ride takes place from May 14 to July 17, with numerous talks and public appearances to take place along the way. The journey will be documented on the Facebook page @OvarianCancerRide for Sheila Rae or Thompson’s travel blog at justgojo.com. Donations will be encouraged to Ovarian Cancer Canada.