Man fights ovarian cancer to honor his grandmother

Since his grandmother died of ovarian cancer, Zack Eddinger has felt a need to fight the deadly disease and has launched campaigns and helped raise money to bring awareness to ovarian cancer.

The organization named for his grandmother that he started, the Sandy S. Eddinger Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, will sponsor Ovarian Cancer Awareness Night at Bowman Field during today’s Williamsport Crosscutters-Batavia Muckdogs game.

It marks just one of a number of events Eddinger wants to hold to help strike out ovarian cancer. He hopes to eventually bring more national focus on the disease by launching Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in all major professional sports leagues in the U.S. and has close to 800 signatures on a petition.

It may seem a tall order, but Eddinger sees it as one worth pursuing.

Eddinger apparently is off to a good start.

“I got a lot of support from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance,” he said.

Other supporting organizations have been the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Dallas, Texas, and the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Foundation, Memphis, Tenn.

Each year about 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 70 percent of those people will die from the disease.

Eddinger will always remember his grandmother, who died in 2006 from ovarian cancer, just three weeks after being diagnosed.

“She was the highlight of every family function,” recalled Eddinger, a resident of Montoursville and a client advisor at Fairfield Auto Mall.

Ovarian cancer, Eddinger noted, was long known as the silent killer because it was believed that symptoms didn’t develop until it was too late to treat.

His grandmother showed common symptoms of ovarian cancer.

“My grandmother was bloated. She thought it was just indigestion,” he recalled.

In addition to bloating, symptoms for ovarian cancer include pelvic or abdominal pain, urinary urgency or frequency, and difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.

Ovarian cancer, which forms in the tissues of the ovary, accounts for about 3 percent of cancers in women.

Most ovarian cancers either begin in the cells of the surface of the ovary or the egg cells, according to the National Cancer Institute.

For women, it is the ninth most common cancer, but the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women.

Unfortunately, there is no screening method for early detection for ovarian cancer.

For the Bowman Field event, Eddinger will do a pre-game radio interview.

Ovarian cancer survivor Jamie McCrum, business manager at Fairfield Auto Mall, Montourville, will throw out the first pitch.

A table will be set up at the ball park with information about ovarian cancer.

“This is one of our very first local events,” Eddinger said.

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 36, Suquehanna Health LIFE Center at the Lycoming Mall will feature ovarian cancer.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.