Sunset Park

Cancer Walk of Hope set for Sunset Park on Sept. 17

Event raises money in memory of Maureen Henry

September 9, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Last year’s Walk of Hope raised $4,000 for ovarian cancer research, according to organizer Kim Henry. Photos courtesy of Kim Henry
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In loving memory of her late sister, Kim Henry organizes a Walk of Hope in Sunset Park each year to raise funds to fight ovarian cancer, the devastating disease that took her sister Maureen’s life 10 years ago.

“My sister was a dedicated family person. I feel I have to do this,” Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The Maureen Henry Walk of Hope will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Sunset Park starting at 11 a.m. Participants can enter the park on Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street near the Sunset Park Pool.

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The event, which raises money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, includes a walk, raffles, games, face painting, cotton candy, tennis and Zumba sessions.  A clown will be there to entertain children.

A special ceremony will take place in which balloons are released into the air from the park’s hill in tribute to cancer victims. “We do it from the hill because that’s the point from where you can see Manhattan,” Kim said.

This is the seventh year that Kim has organized the Walk of Hope. Last year’s event raised $4,000, she said. “I’m hoping to raise $5,000 this year,” she said.

The first year that the event took place, two cancer survivors were in attendance. Last year, 21 survivors were there. “This year there will be 30,” said Kim, who had special trophies made that she will present to each survivor.

Maureen died in 2006.

Her cancer diagnosis was a shock to the family, Kim said. “We had all gone to Great Adventure and were going on a lot of rides when she suddenly said she wasn’t feeling good. We were teasing her, telling her she was getting too old to be running around with us,” Kim recalled.

Later that night, Kim got a call from one of Maureen’s daughters telling her that Maureen was in excruciating pain and needed to go to an emergency room.

“Two hours later, we found out she had a tumor the size of a grapefruit. The reason she had pain was that the tumor had shifted when she was upside down on a ride,” Kim said.

Maureen underwent rounds of chemotherapy but could not be saved.

“She decided to donate her organs to cancer research. That’s the kind of person she was,” Kim told the Eagle.

“I miss her every day,” Kim said. “Her life was her family. We had nine brothers and sisters. Maureen had four daughters. She was a deeply religious person. She was also a fabulous cook. It’s funny. We’re Irish, but she was great at cooking Spanish food. She taught me how to cook.”

The fact that Maureen did not experience any symptoms until it was too late is not unusual.

Many women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer only after it has spread outside the ovaries, said Kim, who has done an enormous amount of research on the disease.

And the common symptoms — which include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating, feeling full quickly and urinary urgency — are ambiguous, Kim said.

Maureen’s untimely death led her sister to take action.

“I refused to let my sister’s fight with cancer go unnoticed. She is not a statistic or a number added to the already too many that lose this battle every day,” Kim said. “Our hope is that we will shine a light on ovarian cancer and be a voice that helps lead to an accurate test that will save lives.”

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