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Burke Catholic Football Team Tackles Ovarian Cancer In Goshen

Team members from the John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen.
Team members from the John S. Burke Catholic High School in Goshen. Photo Credit: Submitted
Left to right: Burke Catholic Football players and volunteers Cory Lee, Danny Gandt, James Shaw, and Kurt Grimm.
Left to right: Burke Catholic Football players and volunteers Cory Lee, Danny Gandt, James Shaw, and Kurt Grimm. Photo Credit: Submitted

GOSHEN, N.Y. – It's looking a bit blue in Goshen.

Teal, to be exact.

For the third year in a row, the John S. Burke Catholic High School Football team tied teal ribbons on trees in the Village of Goshen to help raise awareness for ovarian cancer.

September, after all, is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Senior player Cory Lee spearheaded the effort in memory of his aunt, Corinne Feller, who died at 18 of the deadly disease. Feller was a lifelong Montgomery resident and standout student and athlete at Valley Central High School who battled her illness for 10 months.

Lee has volunteered his time for the Corinne Feller Memorial Fund ever since he can remember. This was his chance to take the lead, and he received full support from his team.

“I was thrilled with the turnout -- 42 guys and my coach came out to honor my Aunt Corinne’s memory and raise awareness of ovarian cancer,” said the 16-year-old Goshen resident.

“Everyone had a great time volunteering. We have made this an annual Burke Catholic football tradition, and hope we are saving lives.”

The awareness effort wouldn’t have happened without the entire community’s support. The Goshen mayor and village officials approved Lee's request; James Murray Florist created the bows the team used to adorn the trees.

The team’s mission to get involved extends back to the Burke Catholic community. The players will wear teal ribbons on their uniforms for games during September and ovarian cancer awareness cards will be handed out at the gate.

“I now see girls at Burke Catholic with teal ribbons on their phones and boys with teal ribbons on their lockers,” said Lee. “It means a lot to have this message catch on. I’m really proud of what my team has accomplished.”

Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the U.S. There is no early detection test and symptoms are subtle and often misdiagnosed, which is why knowing them is critical.

"We want to get people asking questions about ovarian cancer," said Nicole Feller Lee, founder of the Corinne Feller Memorial Fund.

“With early diagnosis, treatment is 90 to 95 percent effective. But most women aren’t diagnosed until it’s too late.”

Classic symptoms of ovarian cancer include pelvic or abdominal pain and discomfort (bloating), vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets, frequent or urgent urination, unexplained changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight gain or loss, ongoing unusual fatigue, back pain, menstrual changes, and pain during intimacy.

Since 1999, the Corinne Feller Memorial Fund has raised funding for local ovarian cancer awareness programs and quality of life initiatives, as well as research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A survivors group, C.A.S.T., has also been formed through the fund that speaks regularly to women’s groups and health practitioners throughout the Hudson Valley.

Go to www.corinnefeller.org for more information.

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