Newk’s Eatery is launching a Newk’s Cares campaign to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, a disease that hits close to home in the Newk’s family. Lori Newcomb, the wife of Newk’s cofounder and CEO Chris Newcomb, was diagnosed with stage IIIC ovarian cancer in early 2013. From mid-August through September, Newk’s is teaming up with Lori and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) to educate women and their loved ones about early warning signs of the disease, as well as promote research for a cure.
Through September, Newk’s signature black cup will be replaced by a teal cup in recognition of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month at the company’s 70-plus restaurants. During the campaign, Newk’s will provide educational information at each of the locations and the story of Lori’s personal journey will also be available to guests in restaurants, as well as on the Newk’s Cares website. Newk's will donate a minimum of $15,000 to OCRF as part of its ovarian cancer charitable initiative. And on September 25, in partnership with OCRF, Lori and Newk's Cares will also raise funds for OCRF through a 5-hour Ovarian Cycle indoor cycle event in Jackson, Mississippi, where Newk's is headquartered. The fundraising goal for this event is $50,000.
“Only 45 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive longer than five years,” says Lori Newcomb. “With early detection and treatment, the rate increases to greater than 92 percent. Through education and by raising money for severely underfunded research, we hope to make a difference in the future progression of this disease.”
In the months leading up to her diagnosis, Lori, a busy mother of three, put the needs of her family first and dismissed changes in her health that were early warning signs of the disease. Her symptoms mimicked those of other innocuous conditions affecting women: bloating, abdominal pain, difficulty urinating. Like most of the 200,000 women nationwide currently living with the disease, Lori’s cancer was advanced at the point of diagnosis and her prognosis was bleak.
In the U.S., ovarian cancer causes more deaths than all other gynecologic cancers combined and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Symptoms are often vague, and ovarian cancer frequently recurs after initial treatment. While there is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer, tests can help identify women who are at risk for the disease.
“Through the courage Lori has shown during her battle with ovarian cancer, I know that many women’s lives will be impacted by her story,” says Chris Newcomb. “It is our hope that through her we can improve early diagnosis, positively impact the prognosis for women, and keep families together.”
By sharing her story, Lori and the Newk’s Eatery family hope it will be a source of strength, inspiration, and hope in the fight against ovarian cancer.