Speak with Jane Crossley for a few minutes, and it’s easy to tell she has a cheery outlook on life.
But when Crossley was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, it became one of the most traumatic times in her life. Support Connection, a non-profit dedicated to helping women battle cancer, helped subside some of that fear and apprehension. On Oct. 2, Crossley, a Putnam Valley resident, will participate in the annual Support-A-Walk as an ambassador. The three-mile walk is located at FDR Park in Yorktown Heights.
“They’re such an incredible group of women there that are just giving of themselves to everybody in need,” Crossley said. “It’s just so awesome.”
Crossley found out she had cancer in February 2012 after experiencing bad stomach pains. After a few different go-arounds with doctors, it was discovered she had a large cist. When she was operated on, her gynecologist discovered that the mass was larger and more complicated than he thought. Instead of operating further, he sewed Crossley back up and sent her to a doctor at Mount Sinai who operated on her and soon relayed to her that she had ovarian cancer. It’s the sort of news that made the hair down her back stick up. She actually found out on Valentines Day.
When Crossley started chemotherapy, her hair started falling out in clunks. That’s when she was put in touch with a Support Connection counselor, who had experienced the same thing, and gave her advice to get through every step of treatment.
Any question Crossley had, a Support Connection counselor was there to help. Even Crossley’s partner, now her wife, Valerie, got the support she needed.
Crossley’s neighbor, who pointed her to the organization, is actually a Support Connection counselor, too, and reassured her the ovarian cancer she’s facing would only be a “big, big hiccup.” Crossley is now in remission, cancer free since 2012. She still goes for check-ups, but hardly thinks about the cancer that once turned her life upside down.
Crossley’s first Support-A-Walk was in October 2012 and it’s something she’ll never forget. Looking around, every person there had some connection to cancer and understood the struggle and the mutual support needed to overcome it.
“This energy you feel bouncing from one person to another is absolutely so invigorating,” she said. “I was completely overcome because you’re with people who have been through this, too, one way or another.”
Crossley said she’s turned the nightmare of cancer into a blessing because now she can help other women fighting the same battle.
Crossley volunteers with Support Connection every week now and plans to help even more after she retires at the end of the month. Crossley and her wife both go to help other women and offer their services in anyway they can.
Crossley said she was very honored to be an ambassador because she “thoroughly valued” what Support Connection does for people battling cancer. It was her way to give back to an organization that has done so much for her.
When she walks this year, Crossley will be decked out in teal (the color for ovarian cancer.) Shopping for all things teal, Crossley said with a laugh she’ll look like a “sweet” walking.
Crossley would recommend Support Connection to anyone facing cancer and can’t wait for the 21st annual walk. She also can’t fathom how she would have gotten through her own cancer nightmare without them.
“I feel cold at the thought because without them for both my wife and myself we would not have survived it so to speak with such optimism and hope and freedom of fear,” Crossley said.