Gail MacNeil, who passed away in June 2008 after a nearly 11-year battle with ovarian cancer, had been an active and award-winning real estate agent and broker since 1984. She often cited enthusiasm for her real estate clients and her career as things that helped her get through the daunting array of surgeries and chemotherapy following her diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 1997. Gail was the recipient of numerous professional and community awards, including the 2004 Humanitarian Outreach Award from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and the North Central Jersey Association of Realtors 2003 Realtor of the Year Award.
An activist at heart, Gail was committed to the need to educate people and, in particular, other women, about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, which were missed by her gynecologist. She also felt very strongly about the need for an early detection test for ovarian cancer to save the lives of future generations of women.
On February 3, 1998, Lois Myers became a member of a very exclusive club. Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” The “Ovarian Cancer Survivors Club” is truly a club that Lois would have never voluntarily joined.
Clearly, receiving a diagnosis of Stage III ovarian cancer was a shocking and life-changing experience. In facing the challenge of cancer, Lois became an activist and, along with fellow ovarian cancer survivors Gail MacNeil and Patricia Stewart-Busso, she helped create the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation, providing extensive leadership in marketing and communications, her two areas of professional expertise. In 2010, Lois became the first ever Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation.
In addition to her activities with KOH, Lois assists the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and Survivors Teaching Students by providing presentations of her story to medical students, professors, and community and civic groups in the metropolitan New York City area. In July 2009, Lois was invited to be a presenter at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance annual conference. Her talk was called “Making A Difference: Getting Involved at the Local Level.” She holds an MBA in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BA in Psychology from Temple University. Lois lives in Harding Township, New Jersey.
Patty Stewart-Busso has successfully owned and managed several companies during her career, including PRMC advertising in Morristown, NJ. Ironically, it was at PRMC, which was actively involved in the diagnostic healthcare industry, where an important early diagnosis may have saved her life. While undergoing surgery to remove what was thought to be a simple ovarian cyst, doctors discovered that Patty had Stage I ovarian cancer. Clearly grateful for this “accidental” discovery, Patty was shocked to learn that the majority of women with ovarian cancer do not receive a diagnosis until the disease has progressed to a much more dangerous advanced stage.
While undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Patty began to envision the possibility of launching a foundation that would help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and support lifesaving research. She heard about a group of survivors organizing a fundraising walkathon and shortly afterwards the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation was born. Patty holds a BFA from Caldwell College and lives in Lambertville, New Jersey.