Patty Franchi Flaherty Loses Battle to Ovarian Cancer, But Deserves a Long Standing Ovation

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that, Patty Franchi Flaherty, founder of the nonprofit organization Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, peacefully succumbed to her nine-year battle with the disease on August 18, 2008, surrounded by friends and family. She was 53 years old. Patty was a legendary ovarian cancer advocate, who spoke for ovarian cancer survivors that lacked a voice. Inspired by the death of her mother from ovarian cancer nearly 35 years ago and driven by her personal struggle, she founded the Natick-based nonprofit Ovations for the Cure in 2005. The organization has since comforted countless women and donated over $1 million to various ovarian cancer research programs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, including the world-renowned Desensitization Program, through fundraising programs such as the annual Stuart Weitzman Fashion Show.

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that, Patty Franchi Flaherty, founder of the nonprofit organization Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer (Ovations For the Cure), peacefully succumbed to her nine-year battle with the disease on August 18, 2008, surrounded by friends and family. She was 53 years old. Patty was a legendary ovarian cancer advocate, who spoke for ovarian cancer survivors that lacked a voice.

Inspired by the death of her mother from ovarian cancer nearly 35 years ago and driven by her personal struggle, she founded the Natick-based nonprofit Ovations for the Cure in 2005. The organization has since comforted countless women and donated over $1 million to various ovarian cancer research programs at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, including the world-renowned Desensitization Program, through fundraising programs such as the annual Stuart Weitzman Fashion Show.

We provide below a bylined article about Patty Franchi Flaherty that was graciously provided to us by Ovations For the Cure. If you would like to learn more about the warnings signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, CLICK HERE (Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement (Adobe Reader PDF Document)

“Patty Franchi Flaherty loses battle to ovarian cancer

Patty Franchi Flaherty, Founder of Ovations For the Cure of Ovarian Cancer (February 26, 1955 – August 18, 2008)

Patty Franchi Flaherty, Founder of Ovations For the Cure of Ovarian Cancer (February 26, 1955 – August 18, 2008)

Natick, MA (August 19, 2008) – Patty Franchi Flaherty, Founder and President of Ovations for the Cure, lost her courageous 9-year battle with ovarian cancer and died peacefully at home on August 18, 2008, surrounded by family and friends.

Patty was a native of Weston who graduated from Bentley College in Waltham. Afterward, she joined Natick-based Franchi Management Company, Inc., where she worked as General Manager for over 30 years overseeing all business operations. She was also a long-standing trustee at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 1999, Patty lived 9 years before succumbing to the same disease that took her mother Madeline’s life 25 years earlier. After a promising remission, the cancer resurfaced in 2005. Frustrated by how little ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment had changed in a quarter-century, Patty was certain that she wasn’t alone in her fight with ovarian cancer or in her frustration over medical insufficiencies. She was determined to help improve the odds for all ovarian cancer patients.

In early 2006, Patty co-hosted the Stuart Weitzman Fashion Show and Luncheon as a fundraiser. Proceeds from the show helped fund the Madeline Franchi Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Then, with the help and support of her dearest friends, Patty launched a non-profit organization called Ovations for the Cure to fuel other research initiatives around the country and actively change the face of ovarian cancer.

In the 9 years she lived with ovarian cancer, Patty Franchi Flaherty turned a very personal crusade into a meaningful legacy for all women facing the disease. Thanks to Patty, women can now share information the likes of which her mother never had, and have hope where before there had been none. In just over 3 years’ time, Patty led Ovations’ growth from a lingering idea to a thriving organization-with momentum that continues to build across North America.

In July of 2008, The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts awarded Patty its highest community honor, the prestigious Brandeis Award, which Patty’s husband Paul accepted on her behalf. The award pays homage to [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice Louis Brandeis and his defense of the rights of individuals, and was given to Patty in recognition of her innovation, bravery, and commitment to furthering the research and awareness of ovarian cancer.

Known for her unshakable determination, Patty turned her mission to beat ovarian cancer into a nationwide entity. In so doing, she created a living legacy of hope for everyone who faces the disease. Patty’s personal contributions to the fight against ovarian cancer have earned her a champion’s status in the hearts of those she has forever touched.

Creating a brighter future

Compared with other diseases making headlines today, ovarian cancer is far from attention-grabbing. Its foremost symptoms are so common and nonspecific that they are often mistaken for something else, if not ignored. Meanwhile, early detection methods are still in their infancy and late-stage diagnosis makes for only a limited number of successfully treated patients. Perhaps most surprisingly, ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all gynecologic cancers.

Contributing to the high mortality rates of ovarian cancer is the lack of accurate screening and clear symptoms. As a result, only 19 percent of cases are detected before the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries, when treatment options are limited.

‘Ovarian cancer is often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and unfortunately misdiagnosed,’ said Dr. Ursula Matulonis, attending physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and medical advisor to Ovations for the Cure.

‘In an effort to overcome this silent killer, Ovations for the Cure is dedicated to supporting cancer research centers to find accurate and early detection screenings. If caught in the early stages of diagnosis, ovarian cancer patients have a 90 percent chance of survival beyond five years and increased odds of beating the disease,’ Matulonis added. ‘Ovations for the Cure has helped change the dynamics of the medical profession by contributing valuable research funds for detection and treatment while educating women on its subtle symptoms.’

Today, Ovations continues to help make miracles possible for all women with ovarian cancer by shedding light on a disease that is still full of darkness. They have launched an aggressive ovarian cancer educational program, distributing awareness brochures to more than 3,000 physicians’ offices across the nation. Additionally, the development of their television and radio public service announcements outlining ovarian cancer symptoms has helped women identify the disease before it spreads to advanced stages. By spring of 2008, Ovations had already dedicated nearly one million dollars to ovarian cancer initiatives through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, City of Hope Hospital in L.A., and the University of Pennsylvania.

From loss to legacy

‘Patty started Ovations for the Cure with the idea of saving women from this horrible disease,’ said Debbie Soprano, one of Patty’s closest friends and first Executive Director of Ovations for the Cure. ‘While she could not save herself, her everlasting optimism and spirit will forever lead the fight against ovarian cancer until we find a cure.’

Patty Franchi Flaherty may have lost her own battle against ovarian cancer, yet through Ovations for the Cure, she’ll continue to help thousands of women to win the war. For more information about ovarian cancer visit www.ovationsforthecure.org”

About Ovations for the Cure

The Ovations for the Cure Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of a cure for ovarian cancer. Ovations for the Cure has donated over $1 million to various ovarian cancer research initiatives such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital Boston, City of Hope, University of Pennsylvania, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Foundation spreads awareness of the most deadly gynecological disease through national events including the renowned Happy Feet Program, fashion shows with celebrity designers Stuart Weitzman and Carmen Marc Valvo, regional golf outings, 5k runs/walks, and various other initiatives. For more information about Ovations, please visit www.ovationsforthecure.org.

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