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Woodbury woman takes teal for a spin

Woodbury resident Pam McDonald, a 10-year ovarian cancer survivor, has organized a fundraising event called Spin It Teal, which will benefit the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. The event, which will be held at three locations throughout the Twin Cities, will have participants cycle for one hour. (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

It was in 2003 that Woodbury resident Pam MacDonald went to the doctors with abdominal pain and bloating.

MacDonald visited three doctors only to receive the diagnosis that she had a hernia.

It wasn’t until she met with a surgeon that she received the correct diagnosis – she had stage three ovarian cancer.

“My life just changed,” she said.

MacDonald’s misdiagnosis is all too common among women, she said.

“Misdiagnosis is very common with ovarian cancer,” MacDonald said.  “If you ask anyone, it’s just missed.”

MacDonald has taken up the ovarian cancer fight by organizing a fundraising event next month.

Spin It Teal, which will take place Nov. 2, is a cycling event at three spin studios across the Twin Cities – Torque Studio Cycle in Woodbury, The Firm in Minneapolis and Cycle Quest Studio in Eden Prairie.

The Torque Studio Cycle location is sold out.

“You need the money to fight it,” MacDonald said, “But, there’s so few of us to work for the cause.”

Spin It Teal is a fundraiser for Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), which helps fund research and support programs.

Teal is the color associated with ovarian cancer.

MacDonald’s fight

The common symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary urgency or frequency.

The ovarian cancer symptoms are oftentimes mistaken for other ailments, said Becky Lechner, communications manager for MOCA.

After MacDonald finally received a correct diagnosis, she underwent chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer.

However, MacDonald had a small calcification, which the chemotherapy was not effective on.

During MacDonald’s treatments, she continued to participate in spin class and other exercises.

“The gym was where I went for good endorphins,” she said. “When I worked out, I was able to get through my treatments.

“Swimming and cycling are the two best exercises for everybody because it’s something that everybody can do.”

MacDonald was in remission for six years until her cancer returned. This time it had spread to her diaphragm.

At the suggestion of doctors, MacDonald underwent surgery to remove the cancer.

“Because I was in great shape, they offered me the surgery,” she said.

Again, MacDonald’s cancer came back and chemotherapy didn’t take care of the calcification.

MacDonald underwent a second surgery to remove the calcification and celebrated her two-year anniversary on Thursday.

Spin It Teal

MacDonald said she decided to organize Spin It Teal because she wanted to not only raise awareness about ovarian cancer, but also raise money to fight the disease.

The concept of spin classes came about because exercise played such a pivotal role during MacDonald’s treatments.

“They believe my exercise is what has made a big difference,” she said. “They’ve shown that you have a better prognosis if you exercise.”

During the event, participants will cycle for one hour at one of the three locations.

Information booths will also be set up during the event.

“It’s all about reaching a new audience and getting them educated,” Lechner said. “We’re going to Fight for our friends, fight for women in the future so we can change things.”

The registration fee for Spin It Teal is $30.

Registration will include a free pair of teal shoelaces.

MacDonald said she is hoping to make Spin It Teal an annual fundraiser because she wants to give other women hope.

“My hope hasn’t been taken away, but I’m working to make a difference for others so that their hope won’t be taken away,” she said. “If we save one person’s life, it’s worth it.

“I want to leave the world better for others.”

Spin It Teal, which is Nov. 2, will be held at Cycle Quest Studio, 6409 City W Pkwy #107 in Eden Prairie, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., at The Firm, 1010 2nd Ave N in Minneaplis, from 10-11 a.m. and at Torque Studio Cycle, 8160 Coller Way in Woodbury, from 9-10 a.m. To register, to donate or for more information about Spin it Teal visit and click on the Spin It Teal link.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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