COCO holds annual ‘Celebration of Life’

By Glenna Glass/Special to The State Journal Published:

The Capital Ovarian Cancer Organization (COCO) held its annual “Celebration of Life” open house event April 21, focusing on friends who have died, honoring friends still struggling with treatment and connecting with members and guests to share their memories.

COCO welcomed special guests from UK Healthcare: Dr. John R. van Nagell Jr., Director of the Ovarian Cancer Screening Program; Katharine Dennis, Director of Development Hospital and Clinics and Tina Payne, UK Ovarian Cancer Research Program.

After brief comments by van Nagell, COCO President Marie Cull and Executive Director Beverly Van Houten along with more than 40 COCO members presented a $10,000 check to van Nagell to support the ovarian cancer screening program.

“My sister died in 2005 from ovarian cancer, and the Capital Ovarian Cancer Organization was created in her honor, “said Van Houten. “We’re thrilled to be able to make this donation to Markey’s Ovarian Cancer Screening Program.”

“We truly appreciate this donation,” van Nagell said. “For 24 years, the ovarian cancer screening program has been providing free screenings for Kentucky women and saved many lives. The screening is not perfect, but it is far better than no screening at all.

“Statistics show that 90-95 percent of the women in the screening program are cured because of early screening. I want to thank you, what you do means a lot. By doing this, you are impacting this disease and women in Kentucky are living because of you, so keep up the good work.”

COCO is a non-profit organization that offers support services for women and families fighting ovarian cancer. The group’s goals are to raise awareness, increase early detection and improve treatment methods of ovarian cancer, to contribute to research for a cure for ovarian cancer and to provide women with the information needed to make educated decisions about their health care. COCO is an official partner with the National Ovarian Cancer Organization.

For more information about COCO, find the group on Facebook or visit For more information about the ovarian cancer screening program, visit To make an appointment for screening, call toll free 800-766-8279 or 859-323-4687.

The current leadership team is: Beverly VanHouten, executive director; Marie Cull, president; Ann Hester, treasurer; Karen Doyle, corresponding secretary; Phyllis Liebman, chair of education and programs; Kathy Phelps, membership co-chair; Jerri Robinson, membership co-chair; Carol Mitchell, fundraising chair; and Glenna Class, public relations chair.

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