Clearity Newsletter
December 2012


For many, the holidays are made special by getting together to celebrate and enjoy the company of friends and family. It's also a time for giving thanks. We want to thank all of our volunteers and donors. It's the perfect time to give this year, or to think about how you might support ovarian cancer patients next year through the Wheel to Survive indoor cycling fundraisers.  

In this issue we highlight:
  • Biotech veteran Peter Johnson challenges Clearity's donors with a matching gift of $30,000. Join Clearity's $30,000 matching gift challenge by Dec. 31
  • Register now for Wheel to Survive, Dallas, on February 17, 2013
  • Ovarian cancer survivor Naomi Whitacre, brings her energy for improving cancer treatment to fundraising, on May 5, 2013 in San Diego
  • Julie Crawford shares her story and gives back
  • Support a California artisan and Clearity with the purchase of a bracelet
  • President Obama appoints Clearity advisor Dr. Beth Karlan to key administrative post
  • The Clearity Foundation joins 5,000 others for run for her

Clearity Receives Gifts, Large and Small, in Response to Its Matching Gift Challenge


We are more than half way to meeting our $30,000 matching gift challenge from biotechnology veteran Peter Johnson to help the organization with its mission to provide ovarian cancer patients with access to their cancer "blueprints."


In response to the challenge, Clearity has received a $10,000 donation from the Francis family in appreciation for supporting them in their treatment decisions. "For patients and their families facing recurrent ovarian cancer, we need the future of personalized treatment decisions today," said Sue Francis. "The future of treatment includes using the biomarkers related to real-life results recorded in Clearity's ovarian-specific Diane Barton Database, which we would like to see grow internationally.  Clearity has given us knowledge and hope and we want to help them support other families like ours," she said.


In addition, board member John Crawford and his wife Julie (click here to read Julie's story) have donated $5,000 in celebration of Julie's remission from stage 3c ovarian cancer. "After serving on the Clearity board for over two years, our family was devastated by Julie's diagnosis in February," John Crawford said. "Since then, I've experienced firsthand the difference that Clearity makes in the lives of patients and their families by empowering them with information and helping them to individualize their treatment. A contribution to Clearity is truly a gift that will bring hope into the lives of patients and their families."


In the month of December your holiday gift to Clearity will go twice as far. Click here to donate to Clearity online.


A cofounder of Annai Systems and Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Peter Johnson supports Clearity's mission of personalized medicine. "I hope you'll join me in supporting Clearity's mission of bringing the promise of personalized medicine to patients today," said Mr. Johnson. "Genomic discoveries are being made at an accelerating pace, but are too slowly bringing help to the patients who courageously battle every day with the cancers that are most difficult to treat, like ovarian cancer. I'm gratified to be able to support individualized treatment options for women today through this gift to Clearity."

Support Wheel to Survive Dallas

A little spandex doesn't scare The Clearity Foundation's supporters!


On February 17, 2013, more than 400 supporters of ovarian cancer research and The Clearity Foundation will pull on their spandex bike shorts and gather at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas, Texas for Wheel to Survive, an indoor cycling fundraising event.


Organizers from the Be the Difference Foundation hope donations for the six-hour cycle-a-thon will surpass the $300,000 raised at the 2012 Wheel to Survive event in Dallas.


Riders and donors involved in this event support programs for early detection, genetic risk awareness, better treatment options and a CURE for ovarian cancer.


All levels of riders are welcome in the event, from beginners to seasoned cyclists. To participate, riders must pay a $40 registration fee and raise a minimum of $500 in donations. Riders also have the option of forming a relay team, where each rider has an obligation of raising $250 in donations.


Please visit at for more information on participating in the event or supporting riders.

Naomi Whitacre Brings the Wheel to Survive Torch to San Diego

Naomi Whitacre sat at The Clearity Foundation patient education meeting as the leader asked for a volunteer to organize a cycling fundraiser in San Diego on May 5, 2013 and thought to herself, "Do NOT raise your hand. Do NOT raise your hand."


Naomi, an ovarian cancer survivor and a volunteer who teaches medical students, nurses and nurse practitioners through the Ovarian Cancer Advocacy Alliance (OCAA) of San Diego, often travels for her job as a human resources consultant. She just didn't know how she'd have the time, plus she had no idea how to organize such an event. She still can't explain why her hand went up anyway.


"I'd chalk it up to simple stupidity on my part," Naomi said with a laugh. Turning serious, Naomi said what really compelled her to take on the task was the hope that The Clearity Foundation gives to women like her: women who have experienced those spine-tingling, life-changing seconds when a doctor says "you have ovarian cancer."  


For Naomi, that moment happened 11 years ago. "It was a nanosecond of my life, but I shudder to remember it. In that moment you reflect that it could all be gone...just like that."


The San Diego resident has since befriended and volunteered alongside many other women with ovarian cancer, teaching others about early warning signs of the disease, genetic testing and individualized treatment. Many of those other women have lost their battle with the disease. So when it comes to having an opportunity to volunteer for Clearity's fundraiser, Naomi said, "I'm just so grateful to be alive and to have the energy to be able to help and do something like this."


San Diego's May 5, 2013 Wheel to Survive fundraiser follows on the success of a similar fundraising event in Dallas, Texas in 2012. The inaugural event in Texas attracted more than 400 riders and raised over $300,000 for The Clearity Foundation and ovarian cancer research. Wheel to Survive is the brainchild of Helen Gardner, a survivor of recurrent ovarian cancer, who wanted to do something to give back to other survivors and Clearity, for offering her and others with the disease the hope of survival and better, more individualized treatment.


Naomi said she's inspired by Helen's strength and spirit, and will follow her lead as she plans the six-hour event on May 5, which aims to raise at least $100,000 to support The Clearity Foundation and its mission to provide ovarian cancer patients a tumor "blueprint" so that they may obtain more individualized treatment.


That's the scientific approach that Laura Shawver, Clearity's founder (who is also a scientist and cancer researcher), brought to the medical model for treating ovarian cancer. Naomi added, "It's mind boggling to me that it wasn't done before."


"The scientific approach provides a model for future treatment and that is why that is particularly exciting to me," she said. "You heighten your chances for getting to your goal. That's obviously much better than the standard approach of "we're going to try this... I think this might work, although the science isn't there," Naomi said.


"This should be a model for all cancer treatment, not just ovarian cancer treatment," she said.


Naomi, who was recently profiled by the Del Mar Times, is full of energy and enthusiasm about many things. The 65-year-old spends her free time hiking and in yoga, barre and spinning classes. Asked how she'll prepare for the six hours of spinning in Wheel to Survive, she laughed.


"I love to hear the music," she said of spinning. "I'm dancing on that bike, hooting and hollering and having a grand old time. But there's nothing like getting done and that endorphin rush. It's a priceless experience!"


Riders of all levels are welcome to participate in Wheel to Survive, she said, from beginners to advanced cyclers. The registration fee is $40 and each rider is required to raise at least $500. Riders can also join as part of a relay team, which requires each individual team member to raise $250.


More information and registration is available at

Julie Crawford Shares Her Story and Gives Back 
by Julie Crawford

I met Laura Shawver four years ago when my husband, John, worked with her in the biotechnology industry. Laura had recently gone into remission from ovarian cancer and had formed The Clearity Foundation. Two years later, in 2010, John joined the Clearity Board of Directors and I began to understand in much more depth the mission of the foundation and how Clearity worked to interact with women with ovarian cancer on a daily basis. 


As fate would have it, in February 2012, I was diagnosed with advanced (Stage 3c) ovarian cancer. Following extensive surgery in early February, I underwent eight months of chemotherapy. There is a community of friends that forms around you at chemotherapy and each woman has her own story to share.  Every week we welcomed someone new facing her own cancer fears and we veterans were able to reassure her because we understood those fears. We saw each other as fellow warriors, wishing each other the best, but knowing we each had a different future facing us. I was blessed with fantastic results, with my CA-125 indicator dropping into the normal range in the early cycles of chemo and staying there to this day. 


After I completed my therapy and my energy began to return, I felt inspired to do something to show my appreciation to Clearity for the work they are doing on behalf of all women facing recurrence of ovarian cancer and to honor all women who are fighting this enemy named ovarian cancer. I created this quilt with that in mind.


Julie will be raffling her quilt for donations to The Clearity Foundation. Click here to participate in the raffle.

Artisan Jewelry Sales Benefit Clearity 

Thanks to San Francisco jewelry designer Jim Colony, there is an easy way to get a beautiful gift for a friend or loved one and support Clearity at the same time. 


With the sale of each of these turquoise and leather bracelets, Jim contributes $20 to The Clearity Foundation.


Click here to shop for family and friends and support Clearity at the same time!

President Obama Appoints Clearity's Scientific Advisory Board Chair to Key Administrative Post

President Obama has appointed Dr. Beth Karlan, Chairman of The Clearity Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board, to the National Cancer Advisory Board.


"I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I'm confident they will serve ably in these important roles," President Obama said when making the appointment of Dr. Karlan and others on Dec. 6. "I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years."


Dr. Karlan has been the Board of Governors' Endowed Chair in Gynecologic Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since 1995.  She has been Associate Director of Women's Cancer Programs at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute since 2010 and Editor-in-Chief of Gynecologic Oncology since 2008.  In addition, she has served as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2001 and as the Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since 1995. 

The Clearity Foundation (plus 5,000) Runs for Her


The Clearity Foundation volunteers, including Founder Laura Shawver, PhD, and board member Aimee Jungman, joined 5,000 other runners and walkers in Los Angeles on Nov. 11 to take part in the 8th annual Run for Her 5k fundraiser to support ovarian cancer research.


"In addition to The Clearity Foundation's work to provide tumor profiles to women battling ovarian cancer, we need more research efforts on this disease, including a test for early detection," Laura said. "Dr. Beth Karlan, the Chairman of Clearity's Scientific Advisory Board, and Cedars Sinai are dedicated to improving outcomes for women with ovarian cancer and we are proud to support them."


The event, which raised more than $853,000 for ovarian cancer research at Cedars Sinai, attracted teams from across the country. It is one of the nation's largest run/walk fundraisers for ovarian cancer research and has raised more than $4 million for the cause.


Organizer Kelli Sargent started the event in 2005 to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, a disease her mother fought for 10 years before dying four years ago. Kelli pitched the idea of the event to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in LA, which agreed to sponsor the event. It has now become a signature community event for the renowned medical center.

The Clearity Foundation is full of 
gratitude this year. 
Thank you so much for 
being a part of our community.