PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sunday is Mother’s Day and Saturday is World Ovarian Cancer Day. For one Philadelphia woman, it will be a difficult weekend because ovarian cancer took away her ability to be a mom. But instead of heartache, she’s on a mission to save others.
There are often no symptoms for ovarian cancer until it’s advanced and no screening for early detection. That’s why there’s a big push for more research.READ MORE: Chestnut Hill Hospital To Be Renamed If Sale Goes Through
They’re high school sweethearts who always dreamed of having a family, but ovarian cancer has stolen that dream from 27-year-old Lexi Mestas, who lives in Philadelphia.
“So, there’s been this grieving,” Mestas said. “A grieving the idea of a family, grieving of what our children may have been like.”
Having been just diagnosed in February, this will be her first Mother’s Day knowing she’ll never be a biological mom.
“Never feeling that I will be celebrated in that way is devastating,” she said. “It really is.”
And there’s the shock of having a deadly cancer, shaving her head, having surgeries and treatments, but Mestas isn’t wallowing in sorrow. She’s on a mission.
“It’s very important that we have funding for research,” she said, “because it can add years on to our lives.”
Mestas is volunteering with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, advocating for more research funding and she wants to empower other young women.READ MORE: Sheriff's Deputies Dismantle Protest Encampment At Site Of University City Townhomes
“It’s called ‘the silent killer,’ because it can really mask itself,” she said.
Does she think if she had been diagnosed earlier, she’d be in a different situation?
“I do,” she said.
Mestas was misdiagnosed for seven months as having gastrointestinal issues. That’s a common symptom, along with bloating.
“Had I been educated, maybe I’d been able to use my voice better,” Mestas said. “And, of course, we trust our doctors, but sometimes doctors can be wrong.”
Like Rocky, she’s fighting back and hoping to save others along the way.
“It has really opened my eyes to how precious life is and appreciating every single day,” she said, “and even if I have a limited amount of time, just how powerful my voice can be and so I am grateful for that.”
Saturday, for World Ovarian Cancer Day, Mestas will be featured along with 30 other women in a billboard campaign that will be in Times Square and also in London to help raise awareness.MORE NEWS: List: Philadelphia Area Food Banks
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