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LI racers hit the road to benefit ovarian cancer research

Runners at the fourth annual Runner's Edge 10K

Runners at the fourth annual Runner's Edge 10K & 5K Whisper Runs at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Credit: Ed Betz

At age 19, Emma Cook has endured the removal of her left fallopian tube, an ovary, appendix and a large tumor.

The Massapequa resident was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in February, and on Sunday her family and closest friends ran in her honor.

Of the estimated 250 people who participated in the fourth annual Runner’s Edge 10K & 5K Whisper Runs in support of ovarian cancer research at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, about 20 of them ran as part of “Team Emma.” Each runner was given a pamphlet with facts about ovarian cancer.

“I’m really proud to be a part of their family,” said Cook, who recently finished her fourth round of chemotherapy. She didn’t run in Sunday’s fundraiser, but she said doctors have given her a clean bill of health.

About 22,000 women develop ovarian cancer annually in the United States.

Ovarian cancer is considered among the most lethal malignancies because it produces only vague symptoms in its earliest stages, lacks a general population screening test and too often is detected late in its evolution, experts say. Common symptoms include abdominal bloating, constipation, indigestion or nausea, loss of appetite and pressure in the pelvis or lower back, and a more frequent need to urinate.

Ilya Wilson of Islip, who won the 10K with a time of 36 minutes, 18 seconds, said he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphopenia when he was 13 years old. He had to be hospitalized, had his tonsils removed and had a port inserted into his chest.

“After that, I committed myself to running,” Wilson, now 20, said.

“Team Emma” member Lisa Liberatore, 50, of Greenlawn, was first among women to finish the 10K in 47:34.

“I found out about the race Friday,” she said. “I did it, of course, to support Emma.”

The nonprofit Race Awesome sponsored the event. Organizer and Baldwin resident Corey Roberts, who founded the race after his mother was diagnosed several years ago with ovarian cancer that went into remission and has since returned, said he wanted runners to remember one thing: “I want people to listen for the symptoms of ovarian cancer.”

He said he expected to raise a couple of thousand dollars, which will go toward ovarian cancer research, and “an immeasurable amount of awareness.”

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