ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Sunshine Skyway is changing colors again in hopes of bringing attention to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
From September 2-5, the Sunshine Skyway will light up teal as a tribute to patients putting up a fight, lost loved ones and survivors like Kerry Kriseman, who was diagnosed in 2019.
"I wound up in a hospital in California while I was on a trip with my family because I got severely ill and got an infection that required IV medication," Kerry recalled. "In checking me out and doing so because I was extremely bloated, they found a tumor on my ovary."
After surgery and several months of chemo and radiation, Kriseman got the news that she had beaten cancer, which sparked a newfound mission.
"I said, ‘If I live, if I get to live, I need to help somebody," Kriseman stated.
Kerry Kriseman, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019.
She set out to work with a number of organizations and advocates, including Claudette Carlan with the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation in St. Petersburg.
"The foundation was founded by my mother, Selma Mastery, who was an ovarian cancer survivor for three years," Carlan said. "She was diagnosed late stage four and started the foundation in 2003 and she passed away in January 2004."
Carlan said that was a time when very little was known about ovarian cancer, and while research has come a long way, a lot more needs to be done to prevent this from being the leading cause of gynecological cancer deaths.
"We want to be where breast cancer research is," Carlan added. "People survived breast cancer for 30, 40 years. We want that."
They are both thankful for the niche of women in their community that can lend a helping hand to each other.
The Sunshine Skyway lights up teal in honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
It was even survivor Carla Jimenez that spearheaded turning the Skyway Bridge teal. They are hoping people journeying across this bridge will lead them to learning more about their journeys.
"If a beautiful bridge that is lit up in teal can bring awareness where somebody might ask, 'Why does it look like that this weekend?' And dig for answers and then learn more as a result, then, you know, they'll either take that information and save their own life or save someone else's," Kerry said.
LINK: Learn more about the Ovarian Cancer Foundation at https://www.ovariancancerfoundation.org/.
The foundation will hold its annual 'One Step Closer to The Cure" walk/run on Saturday, September 24.