Communities across Michigan tie teal ribbons, spreading awareness of ovarian cancer with MIOCA

To raise awareness about ovarian cancer in the state of Michigan, the statewide non-profit organization Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MIOCA) launches an annual awareness campaign during Ovarian Cancer Month in September. The campaign, Tie Michigan Teal, begins on September 1 and continues through September 30. 

This year, the organization united over 60 cities and 14 campuses to participate—including the central and northern Michigan communities of Mt. Pleasant, Flint, Elk Rapids, Port Huron, and Midland.

Typically, volunteers tie teal ribbons to lamp posts around various cities in the state with the goal of bringing awareness, however often area businesses additionally “teal” their windows, city halls light their buildings, and restaurants offer teal-themed items for the campaign.

Teal ribbons listing ovarian cancer symptoms and resources are tied on lamp posts in Michigan downtowns during the annual Tie Michigan Teal campaign every September. (Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant)

“Every 23 minutes a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” shares Diann Glaza-Helbling, MIOCA’s event manager. “Anyone with ovaries at any age can get this cancer. With no early detection screening test available, spreading awareness is a tool we have to educate people about this cancer, ensuring they are aware of the signs and also knowing the importance of finding out their family's genetic history. This campaign engages communities to recognize the teal ribbon is for ovarian cancer.”

In each engaged community, a volunteer coordinator leads the Tie Michigan Teal initiative. This year, Mt. Pleasant participated for the first time, as a group of over 20 people tied approximately 100 ribbons on lamp posts aligning Broadway and Main streets downtown. 
The Mt Pleasant Area Community Foundation assisted with the Tie Michigan Teal campaign on Sept. 1, 2023. (Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant)

“While we were tying teal ribbons in Mt. Pleasant, it was incredibly impactful how frequently we were approached by members of the community,” shares Mt. Pleasant tie coordinator, Courtney Jerome, who has tied the communities of Lake Leelanau and Elk Rapids during past Tie Michigan Teal campaigns. “When we described what the teal ribbons represented, several people shared their connections with this cancer, and expressed a sincere ‘thank you’ for spreading the awareness after they experienced ovarian cancer’s impact with a loved one.”
Volunteer Mark Brooks participated in the Tie Michigan Teal campaign in downtown Mt. Pleasant on Sept. 1, 2023. (Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant)
Also in central Michigan, Mid Michigan College is participating in the campaign this September, by showcasing displays at both their Mt. Pleasant and Harrison campuses. 
MIOCA Tie Michigan Teal display at Mid Michigan College in Mt Pleasant. (Beth Binder / Mid Michigan College)
“We currently have a display cabinet in our entryway and have provided information about MIOCA and teal ribbons for students to tie as part of the #TieMichiganTeal campaign,” shares Amy Fisher, dean of business and professional studies at Mid Michigan College.

“We also encourage them to take a photo of their ribbons and post them on Facebook using the hashtag.”  

“As an educational institution, our role is not only to educate our student body on the content within their courses, it is also to educate them on issues that may affect them personally,” Fisher continues. 

“Internally, we also shared this information with members of our MI-ACE community. Mid is currently a member of the Michigan American Council on Education Women's Network (MI-ACE) which is a professional network for Michigan Women in Higher Education. We regularly share valuable information like this with our internal members in an effort to create awareness about various issues as well as build leadership opportunities and skills for women within our organization,” she says. 

MIOCA Tie Michigan Teal display at Mid Michigan College in Harrison. (Beth Binder / Mid Michigan College)
Founded in 2011, the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance strives to promote the early detection of ovarian cancer and improved treatment outcomes. The nonprofit raises awareness of ovarian cancer, provides resources and support to survivors and their families, advocates both locally and federally, educates Michigan communities, and funds innovative ovarian cancer research.

The 2023 American Cancer Society statistics indicate about 19,710 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year, and around 13,270 women will die from ovarian cancer this year as well. 

Symptoms of menopause and aging are often blamed instead of ovarian cancer, causing this cancer to be nicknamed “the silent disease.” If women experience symptoms such as bloating, pelvic/abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and/or urinary issues (change in frequency or urgency), MIOCA advocates paying attention to these symptoms and sharing them with physicians.

Discover additional resources and support MIOCA provides to survivors and their families, research funding, and education initiatives at

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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at