Co-founder continues ovarian cancer awareness mission without her best friends by her side

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WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Women and men gathered Monday for the annual “She Rocks” luncheon. Wilmington warriors dressed in teal to join the support the fight at the Wilmington Convention Center.

“When Beth and Tracey were diagnosed, we realized that woman didn’t really know the signs or symptoms and that there was no early detection,” Mary Barto, “She Rocks” co-founder, said.

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Six years later, Barto contines to lead the fight against ovarian cancer in Wilmington without her best friends and co-founders by her side.

“It’s caught in such late stages that we miss stages 1, 2 and sometimes 3 so the numbers of women who are diagnosed always look small, but it’s the deadliest female cancer that we have” Barto said.

That’s why Barto continues the “She Rocks” mission to support ovarian cancer research and knowledge. She says more than 500 people attended Monday’s luncheon to help aid in this fight including UNC-Chapel Hill cancer researchers.

“We’re trying to create an entirely new way of treating cancers including ovarian cancer by harnessing the powers of stem cells,” Shawn Hingtgen, clinical assistant professor and associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, said.

Barto says 75% of donations go towards research in Chapel Hill for early detection and better treatment and 25% stays local supporting the Zimmer Cancer Center.