McALLEN — Women of the Rio Grande Valley attended empowering rhythmic cycling sessions to raise money toward ovarian cancer research Saturday here at the Trybe Cycle studio.
The event is the only one of its kind in the Valley, a fact that 30-year ovarian cancer survivor Marlynn Olivarez would like to change given that it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American women.
Olivarez has chaired the event since 2016 and said Saturday’s event was the first time she partnered with Trybe Cycle.
“This is the party to celebrate life and remember those who lost their battle, to celebrate those who’ve won their battle and to educate women,” she said.
There were three sessions of rhythmic cycling with 25 riders in each. The event raised over $12,000 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.
Krista Iglesias, owner of Trybe Cycle, brought the event to life with her energetic and uplifting personality throughout the ride.
Iglesias said every one of her sessions is different and “speaks from the heart” when motivating her cyclists.
To create the right atmosphere Iglesias said she hand-picks songs that speak to her for that session.
“There’s always a theme to every ride and they’re all completely different,” she said. “So this one is gonna be more empowering; women empowerment, being strong, resilient and powerful.”
The studio was decorated with neon teal lighting and balloons in honor of the ride for ovarian cancer. Teal is the designated color to represent ovarian cancer awareness and is also an acronym which stands for “Take Early Action Live.”
After learning about the severity of women that are impacted by ovarian cancer, Iglesias said she would like to host the event annually to bring awareness to more women in the Valley.
“I think [my message to women in the Valley] is to take care of each other and look at the signs, bring awareness, go to your doctor, go to your gynecologist, learn the symptoms,” she said. “I think more awareness needs to be had regardless. We raised a good amount of money but I think people just need to know that there’s no test for this.”
Before the women began their cycling session Olivarez addressed the audience by explaining the purpose for the ride and how in the 45 minutes that the session will take up two women will die in the United States of ovarian cancer.
She stressed that it is referred to as a “silent killer” because early ovarian cancer often has no symptoms and there is no screening test to detect it in early stages.
Debra Maldonado, co-owner of Lecreme Hair & Nail Salon in McAllen, was one of the sponsors for Saturday’s event.
Maldonado said she’s witnessed the effects of ovarian cancer through Olivarez who has been her client and friend for over 20 years.
“I don’t think there’s enough talk about it and so I’m a woman and I definitely think that we need to be informed more about it,” she said. “It’s not only about our outer beauty, but for us to also take care of our inner beauty because without us being healthy then we’re not any good to anybody else.”
Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, according to OCRA, are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary symptoms such as needing to urinate more frequently and/or with more urgency.
For more information on ovarian cancer or to donate visit ocrahope.org or call (212)-268-1002.