By Sheri Duff
It’s the latest quandary: why are teal ribbons on display? They can be seen wrapped around lamp posts, mailboxes, and railings, but only a close inspection will yield an explanation as to their nature. The vanilla colored text reads “Turn the Towns Teal”, and “An awareness campaign for ovarian breast cancer.” The ribbons can be credited to Hinesburg resident Melody Danaher. Organizer of last year’s Turn the Towns Teal in Charlotte and Hinesburg, Danaher has expanded the program to also include the towns of Shelburne, Bristol, and Richmond, but that’s not all. Thanks to her efforts and those of her husband, Joe, friends Nancy Longe, Lindsay Longe, Pam Derda, co-worker Kim West, a group of five Shelburne Community School seventh graders Avery Sleeper, Grace Caswell, Lauren Regan, Lauren West, Courtney Vincent, plus Terry Masterson-Spear, and her husband Darcy Spear of Bristol, teal ribbons are now on display in the aforementioned towns as a tribute to National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Danaher’s involvement with the Turn the Towns Teal campaign is personal. “I have a dear friend in New York who is an ovarian cancer survivor. She supports this effort and is tireless in seeking opportunities to promote awareness,” she informed.
Last year Danaher made the 72 teal ribbons, 36 for each town, herself. This year she made different plans. Her first step was to call a local florist for instructions in bow-making. Although Britta Johnson of In Full Bloom refused Danaher’s request for instruction; she offered her much more. “Everyone has been touched by cancer…,” Johnson began, “So instead of teaching Melody to make the bows, I volunteered to make them myself. It’s challenging to put the ribbons together because of the material they are made of,” she explained. “I think it took at least five hours for me to complete the task.”
Turn the Towns Teal was established in 2007 by Gail MacNeil of Chatham, N.J. who realized that not enough was being done for ovarian cancer awareness during her 10-year battle with the disease. This year there are registrants in 36 states, and enthusiasm for this awareness campaign continues to grow.
As testimony to that fact, Danaher is forming a group committed to the cause. She has an Awareness Meeting planned for Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7pm at the Osborne Parish Hall at the United Church of Hinesburg. “I have speaking commitments from Dr. Cheung Wong, the director of Gynecologic Oncology at Fletcher Allen Health Care, and Kathy Coquhoun of A Ribbon of Survival, [an organization] that supports ovarian cancer awareness and education. Plus I have another possible speaker on the hook. It will be an informative evening and I encourage the entire community to attend. I’m proud to fight for ovarian cancer awareness in my community. The cause is very important to me.” Interested locals should contact Danaher at (802) 238-6157 to find out more. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.turnthetownsteal.org.