Day of Hope 2019 Inspire Sponsor, The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation was one of our most colorful teams.

Donor Spotlight: The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation

Santa Maria is comprised of generous hearted people who strive to make their city a better place. Few entities capture the giving nature of the people than the local nonprofits that are woven into the fabric of the community. The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation’s story is a great example of this.

Like a number of nonprofits, this foundation was born out of a real need. The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation was an organization arising from both a need and a promise. 

In 2015, Gary McKinsey made a promise to his late wife Julie as she was on her deathbed. “Julie said, ‘You have to do something for me,’” Gary recalled. “’You have to do something for the women being treated at Mission Hope.’” Several years prior, Julie was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2009. Given the moniker “silent killer,” ovarian cancer is a deadly form of cancer with a low survival rate. It is often diagnosed in late stages given that early-stage ovarian cancer goes undetected until it has spread throughout the pelvis and abdomen. Advanced-stage ovarian may cause symptoms that are often mistaken for more benign issues, such as bloating, urinary symptoms, weight loss, and feeling full when eating.

Inspired by Julie, Gary fulfilled this promise by reaching out to two others who have been impacted by cancer. Fellow co-founders Cristina Martins Sinco and Jay Connor joined Gary and jumped at the opportunity to establish a foundation that sought to help women battling ovarian cancer. With a mission to raise ovarian cancer awareness through education and early detection, The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation was founded in 2016. 

Cristina’s mother, Valentina Martins, was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer and Cristina has carried her mother’s legacy forward serving as an ambassador for ovarian cancer education. “A driving force for me is the memory of my mom, and anyone who knew her knows that she left a huge mark.” 

As both a co-founder and president of the foundation, Cristina has helped grow the organization as a prominent philanthropic entity in Santa Maria. In 2019, The Teal Journey Ovarian Cancer Foundation became an Inspire Level sponsor during Day of Hope, donating $20,000 to the healing work of Marian Cancer Care at Mission Hope Cancer Center.  Through the course of its three years of existence, they have given $58,400 to patients at Mission Hope Cancer Center.

“This foundation is unique in that we saw a need that wasn’t being met, so we jumped into that opening. The community supports the organization because we’re focused on our mission and have a passion to care for those with ovarian cancer,” co-founder Jay added. 

As their logo symbolizes well, it take a community to support and defeat cancer. Santa Maria is made a better place with this growing advocacy and support group.