1944 - 2013
It is with the heaviest of hearts that the family of Gayle McKenna announces her passing this past Monday at the age of 69. Surrounded by family and friends in her last days, as well as the volunteers from the Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California, whom she loved, and who helped embody Gayle’s passion and supported her vision to educate and empower women to take care of their own health.
Born in Elkton, South Dakota in 1944, Gayle spent the last 40 years in Los Angeles, where the community of Studio City was her home. Gayle is survived by Jim McKenna, her daughter Jennifer, and her son Rich. Private burial services are taking place in Elkton, South Dakota. Per her request, there will be a public memorial for Gayle held in Los Angeles in the coming weeks. Information will be provided on her website and through her organization, the OCC.
Everyone who knew Gayle knows she was a truly remarkable person, as a mom, as a leader in the community, and as an inspiration for women across the United States. She will be missed, but Gayle would want the work she began to continue on after her death. Information about her foundation for Ovarian Cancer support and research can be found on this website and donations made me made through following the donate link at the top of the page.
May her memory be a cause for celebration and inspiration. She will be missed. In lieu of flowers or condolences to the family, please consider a donation to the OCC, and keep the memory of Gayle’s lifelong work and vision alive.
This year, a phase II randomized study investigated the use of paclitaxel and carboplatin bevacizumab (Avastin) as a primary treatment and continuing as a maintenance drug in platinum resistant ovarian cancer. The results were that progression free survival (PFS) increased 3.6 months to 6.7 months, a 52 percent improvement. Overall survival (OS) data will be available in 2013.
During a discussion about targeted therapies generally failing to show an improvement in overall survival (OS), some skepticism was expressed regarding targeted therapies in ovarian cancer. Because the results of genetic studies show that each case of ovarian cancer is genetically unique, the provocation conclusion to this discussion was to halt Phase III trials in ovarian cancer and researchers focus on prevention, immunotherapy and tumor initiation.
A trial used Olaparib as a maintenance drug to treat ovarian cancer in women with or without a BRCA mutation. The trial showed an increase in progression free survival (PFS) from 9.6 months to 12.2 months (HR .35); but no increase in overall survival (OS) and no change in tumor size.
Another panel discussed the high cost of cancer care and what providers can do to bring that cost down without sacrificing quality. The panel urged providers to adhere to guidelines and have conversations, early on, about the goals of the treatment, the use of palliative care, living wills and hospice.
A special thanks to all the volunteers who helped at the many OCC events and at the OCC office. OCC greatly appreciates the volunteers who made the 14th Annual Walk Run a success. Special thanks to the Captains: Barbara Ferreira, Eva Simon, Alan Wohl, Paul Johnson, Leslie Dorfman, Greer Saunders, Lorie Lieberman, Dave DelPrete and Consuelo Costin.
The 5th Annual Lunch & Learn Symposium was a huge success. The distinguished keynote speakers included: Dr. Robin Eisner, MD PhD of Gynecologic Oncology & Gynecology at UCLA; Dr. Ilana Cass, MD at the Cedars-Sinai Division of Gynecologic Oncology; and Jesse Brune Private Chef of Beverly Hills speaking on nutrition.
The Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California is a nonprofit 501(c) grassroots organization founded in 2001 to help women to be aware of ovarian cancer and advocate for early detection.