Someone made a big difference to you and you will never forget them. Tell the world by nominating them for our Patient Power Hall of Fame.
By Pat Elliott
When Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month took place in 2010, teal reverberated through Washington, DC, from the Capitol to the White House, in recognition of the disease which took the life of President Obama’s mother. The recognition, as well as the Presidential proclamation and a Congressional briefing, were due to efforts of a charity led by cancer survivor and patient advocate Annette Leal Mattern.
Annette’s devotion to patient advocacy comes from a strong personal desire to give her life greater purpose. She has been an ovarian cancer survivor for more than 23 years and is also a two-year breast cancer survivor. She retired from her position as Vice President of Marketing and Operations for a major telecommunications firm to devote her energies to making a difference in women’s cancers.
Annette’s accomplishments are many. She published a book, Outside the Lines of Love, Life, and Cancer, about coping with cancer and surviving life. She is president of the board of directors of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and president and cofounder of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona. She’s also a contributing writer for EmpowHer.com, a global website devoted to empowering women to advocate for their own best health. Annette doesn’t stop there. She’s also a LiveStrong inspirational speaker, sharing her story nationwide to motivate women to live their best life in spite of their diagnosis. Annette lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. with her husband Rich.
Annette describes her life’s mission as empowering women and finding joy. When she was chosen as president of the board of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance she said she accepted with grave responsibility and great optimism. A strong team player, Annette said she was encouraged by her colleagues - a board and staff of dedicated professionals who give their time and talents because of a shared belief that one day they will change the horror that is ovarian cancer.
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and its 45 local charity partner members, provide a place where every aspect of ovarian cancer survivors’ lives comes together. The Alliance works to keep the patient’s voice in the national debate about cancer research; argues for better care and links the community to resources of scientific merit. Another role is alerting patients about choices that may enable a longer, better life. Through the network of partner members, the Alliance raises awareness of symptoms that could save other women through earlier diagnosis. Their efforts have been recognized by the White House, Congress, the National Cancer Institute, and others.
Ovarian cancer supporters use teal as their color, and Annette welcomes others who want to join the “teal army” and provide support. She says, “My own personal journey has allowed me to meet remarkable people, individuals inextricably tied to each other, not because we share a disease, but because all of us have been touched by it. I am inspired by every woman’s story, touched by every family’s pain. I rejoice with each small victory and cry for too many of us taken before our time. It is our cumulative journeys that fuel my passion to make a difference.”
Annette has helped accelerate and escalate the ovarian cancer awareness movement. She championed the campaign to inform one million women of ovarian cancer symptoms. She is providing hope to patients and changing the course of treatment. She is personally committed to living the best life possible and is a role model for all women, but most especially for those with cancer. For these reasons, and more, I am proud to nominate my friend, fellow cancer survivor and colleague Annette Leal Mattern to the Patient Power Hall of Fame.