Actor helps lead fight against ovarian cancer at first unTEAL A CURE 5K

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Feb. 22, 2010 - More than 500 Valley residents are expected to join researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) at Tempe's Kiwanis Community Park on March 7 for the first unTEAL A CURE 5K.

Represented by the color teal, the run-walk aims to help raise awareness and stomp out ovarian cancer, whose symptoms often are not properly diagnosed until the cancer is in its late stages and more difficult to treat. Among the indicators of ovarian cancer are frequent or urgent urination and a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Emcee of the event is actor Evan Farmer, the new host of CMT's top-rated weekly CMT Top 20 Countdown. He also is known for hosting The Learning Channel's (TLC's) hit home make-over show, While You Were Out, and appearing in such movie and television features as Austin Powers in Goldmember, Shaft Returns, JAG and Total Request Live. And he has appeared in concert, opening for Britney Spears, as the lead singer of boyband spoof 2GE+HER. Farmer has been active in cancer philanthropy for nearly two decades. His mother, Jamison (Jay) Farmer, passed away from ovarian cancer in 2007.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that this year more than 21,000 American women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 will die from the disease, nearly one every 37 minutes. This cancer appears in tissues of the ovary, one of a pair of female reproductive organs in which the ova, or eggs, are formed.

One of this cancer's victims was 22-year-old Taryn D. Ritchey, who attended Valley middle and high schools while living with her mother, Judy Jost of Cave Creek. Taryn, who passed away in 2007, was an advocate for preserving endangered tigers. "Taryn's Tigers,'' which will include at least 40 participants, will be one of several teams running in the March 7 unTEAL A CURE 5K.

"It means hope. Taryn's dying wish was to be able to help other young women so they won't have to go through what she went through. I'm trying to fulfill her final wish. I can think of no one better than TGen to do it," her mother said.

Taryn's husband, Robert Ritchey, was killed in an automobile accident on July 28, 2008 - one year and two days after Taryn passed away. Robert's family will participate in the unTEAL A CURE 5K. And, Taryn's boss, Mary Johnson, has had breast cancer since Taryn's passing. She also will participate in the event with her husband, Steve.

All of the proceeds from the unTEAL A CURE 5K will benefit TGen's efforts to save lives and improve patient outcomes through new laboratory discoveries. TGen conducts research on many types of ovarian cancer, with special attention to epithelial ovarian cancer, which accounts for 9 out of 10 ovarian cancers.

Dr. Heather Cunliffe, Head of TGen's Breast & Ovarian Cancer Research Unit, is working on ovarian cancer studies that she hopes will lead to earlier detection, improved treatment and prolonged survival.

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Details

What: unTEAL A CURE 5K
Where: North end of Tempe's Kiwanis Community Park. Enter off Baseline Road at Ash Avenue, between Kyrene Road and Mill Avenue.
When: March 7. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.; events start at 8:30 a.m.
Why: Raise $25,000 for TGen ovarian cancer research.
How: Registration fees are: $30 for ages 13 and up; $10 for ages 5-12; children under 5 are free.
To register, please go to: www.helptgen.org.
More information: Contact Michele Avery at 602-625-3857 or mavery@tgen.org.
Media interview requests: To interview Evan Farmer, please contact Erin Massey, Director of Development, TGen Foundation, at 602-343-8470 or emassey@tgen.org.

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