Letters to the editor: May 28, 2014

Spreading awareness

We were thrilled to see the May 14 article in the Light about the genetic impact of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and their relationship to breast and ovarian cancers.  We would like your readers to know what St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness (SLOCA) is doing to raise awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, support survivors and fund research. 

Awareness is the most prominent of our three program areas. Through awareness programs, passionate SLOCA volunteers educate women, their loved ones and medical professionals about the symptoms and standards of care. Until there is a diagnostic test, SLOCA’s awareness activities are essential to enabling earlier diagnosis and improved survivor rates. We partnered with Sharsharet last fall on an event at the Jewish Community Center, offering access to an Ovarian Cancer Genetics 101 Webinar and a health Q&A with a genetics counselor from St. Luke’s Hospital. 

Survivor support is our second key program area. For the 200 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in St. Louis this year, SLOCA assembles and distributes 200 Sister Gift Boxes through gynecologic oncologist offices throughout the area. The boxes are packed with gifts we believe will be helpful to women with ovarian cancer as they undergo treatment and follow-up care.

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On Sept. 6, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day will bring local and national experts to speak to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers about issues related to their diagnosis: risk factors and genetic implications, disease management, treatment options and side effects, clinical trials and research, sexuality and other quality-of-life issues. The event is free and will be held at the Richmond Heights Community Center between 8:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Finally, funding research represents our hope for the future. The most recent grant of $50,000 is funding inquiry into inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which lead to a significantly increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The project addresses an important question about the genetic changes involved in the development of ovarian cancer. Understanding the initiation of events in ovarian cancer could potentially allow for improved screening and targeted prevention in high risk women. In 2014, we have budgeted a 50 percent increase in the dollars we contribute to research—$75,000. 

Readers who would like additional information about ovarian cancer, programs and events, may visit our website, sloca.org.

Christine Krueger, Executive Director, St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness 


Theatre’s direction

As long time theatergoers and longtime season subscribers of the New Jewish Theatre, I must say I am disappointed with the upcoming 2014-2015 season. It seems as if the first three productions are Holocaust-themed or have a survivor as a central character. Is there no sense of variety or light-hearted entertainment left in a season anymore? 

Years ago when I first became a subscriber, there were many Saturday nights when people were standing outside the theater hoping for no-shows so they could get a seat. The NJT has expanded the number of shows in its seasons, which is a good thing, but from what I can see, there are plenty of vacant seats on Saturday nights, and it is mostly us senior citizens. 

The NJT seems to have lost the younger crowd that used to attend.  I know that many of my friends have also stopped attending and the reason I hear from those who have dropped their subscriptions is that subject matter of the NJT has become way too heavy. It seems that every other play is either about the Holocaust or a sad, dysfunctional family. 

In contrast, consider a few years ago, when NJT had “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” by Neil Simon or “The Last of the Red Hot Mamas” — there was a packed house every night. 

I support the cultural arts of the Jewish Community Center and I would like to see the NJT thrive, not just survive. With a beautiful new theater, I think it’s sad that the theater’s leadership seem out of touch with what type of theater the community enjoys.   

Leslie Becker, Chesterfield