Heather Mellion-Brophy2018 is Heather Mellion-Brophy’s fifth year participating in the National Race to End Women’s Cancer as captain of team Caring For Your Girly Bits. After being diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer on Oct. 23, 2013, at age 36, and having a radical hysterectomy in early 2014, Heather felt a strong obligation to spread awareness about reproductive cancers.

“Too many women are not aware of the risk factors associated with these cancers, the importance of family history and the steps they can take for prevention,” Heather wrote.

“I try to encourage friends and family to get their annual exams each year. Everyone is so busy with day to day things, but you need to make your health a priority.”

Although bringing all her family and friends to Washington, DC for the race is not feasible, Heather found a way to participate from home. Each year on the day of the National Race to End Women’s Cancer, Heather organizes a two-mile fun walk in her community at a local park to raise funds for the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC).

“I try to make the walk as fun as possible every year,” she wrote. “We dress up in team shirts, wigs, tutus, and funny glasses. I include my friends’ kids—I think that is important. After the walk, I host a lunch at my house and we pull our team raffles—this year we have 12 raffles! It’s a great way to raise funds for the team and the FWC. It’s a fun few hours.”