2021 Impact Highlights

Accelerating Progress

Paving the way for promising research and providing hope

MOCA-funded research is fueling new discoveries aimed at saving lives. We continue to advance ovarian cancer research projects focused on developing an early detection test, better treatments—and a cure for this disease.

The MOCA-funded early detection research led by Dr. Amy Skubitz at the University of Minnesota, gained national media attention in 2021. Watch the story by Scripps Broadcasting below.

In 2021, MOCA awarded $500,000 to five Minnesota-based ovarian cancer research projects and an additional $100,000 in National Early Detection Research Awards. MOCA’s total amount of research funding climbed to nearly $9.8 million. MOCA is consistently ranked among the top private nonprofit funders of ovarian cancer research in the nation.

Watch MOCA’s 2021 Research Awards to learn about our Minnesota-based projects.

Hear from MOCA’s 2021 National Early Detection Research Award recipients in this program.

Accelerating Progress

Educating health care providers and the public to increase early detection

MOCA’s medical education programs teach health care students and the public to recognize the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Early diagnosis is critical to helping women achieve better outcomes.

Survivors Teaching Students®

MOCA’s Survivors Teaching Students® or STS® program, in partnership with OCRA, is making a lasting impact on Minnesota’s future health care professionals. Students hear personal stories from ovarian cancer survivors and learn to recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer, so more women are diagnosed at an early stage when the disease is most treatable.

In 2021, MOCA’s STS program continued in a virtual format and reached more than 350 medical and nursing students at colleges and universities across Minnesota.


STS® is educating future health care professionals at colleges and universities across Minnesota.

Participating Minnesota Medical Schools and Programs, 2021

Medical Schools

  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Minnesota

Nurse Practitioner Programs

  • College of St. Scholastica in Duluth
  • College of St. Scholastica in St. Cloud
  • NEW! University of Minnesota
  • Winona State University
  • Minnesota State University Mankato

Physician Assistant Programs

  • Augsburg University
  • St. Catherine University
  • Bethel University
  • College of St. Scholastica in Duluth

View this story to see how MOCA’s STS program is making a difference.

View the story on WDIO.com.

Health Care Scholarships and Awards

MOCA values the key roles nurses and physician assistants play in the treatment of women with ovarian cancer. We provide several scholarship opportunities to help health care providers increase their knowledge of the disease. MOCA also offers awards to recognize outstanding care.

MOCA’s Colleen Anderson Excellence in Cancer Care Award is a $2,500 annual award recognizing a front-line health care worker for excellent and compassionate care of women with ovarian cancer. This award was established in 2020 by the family of Colleen Anderson, who died of ovarian cancer.

The 2021 Colleen Anderson Excellence in Cancer Care Award recipients are:

Lisette Anderson, MSN, RN, Mayo Clinic
Jody Mattson, RN, BSN, OCN, M Health Fairview, Maple Grove
Akia Smith, DNP, APRN, WHNP, Minnesota Oncology, Coon Rapids

“I am privileged to accept this award from MOCA. MOCA has been an awesome resource to many of our patients and without their support, there would be a huge gap in the Midwest community for our patients.”

— Akia Smith, DNP, APRN, WHNP, Minnesota Oncology, Coon Rapids

In 2021, MOCA awarded our sixth annual Pederson Nursing Scholarship. This $1,000 annual award recognizes a University of Minnesota oncology nurse and supports continuing education. The Pederson Nursing Scholarship was established in memory of Janet Pederson, who passed away from ovarian cancer.

The 2021 Pederson Nursing Scholarship recipient is Hyacinth Hruby, BSN, RN, OCN, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

“I am very humbled and grateful to receive this scholarship. I intend to use this scholarship for graduate school and become a nurse practitioner, focusing on the gynecologic oncology population. I would like to continue to provide safe and effective care for patients.”

Hyacinth Hruby, BSN, RN, PHN, OCN, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview

Accelerating Progress

Offering meaningful support and resources to everyone impacted by ovarian cancer

MOCA is here for ovarian cancer survivors, families and caregivers with meaningful support programs and resources. From our bi-monthly support groups to our one-on-one connection opportunities, MOCA offers several meaningful ways for our community to find support.

MOCA increased our support offerings in 2021 by adding our new virtual Lunch and Learn sessions to educate survivors on topics to help them take charge of their health. MOCA’s bi-monthly support groups continued virtually throughout the year, due to the pandemic. MOCA provided additional in-person support opportunities through one outdoor Lunch and Learn session and through our Young Survivor Network and Men of MOCA outings.

MOCA Support Groups

Survivors, loved ones and caregivers throughout Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin found support through our MOCA Connections and East Metro support groups. Our support groups met virtually in 2021 because of the pandemic. Attendees joined online from the comfort of their homes.

MOCA’s Living Well Educational Meetings

MOCA’s Living Well meetings are designed to educate our community about topics relevant to their journeys with ovarian cancer. MOCA held three virtual educational meetings in 2021, discussing health and wellness, lymphedema treatments and caregiver concerns. Our Living Well meetings included live question and answer sessions.

MOCA Lunch and Learn Meetings

In 2021, MOCA added Lunch and Learn meetings to allow survivors and loved ones to connect over the lunch hour and learn about health and wellness topics. MOCA held two virtual Lunch and Learn sessions, exploring writing for wellness and the importance of patient advocacy. MOCA also offered one in-person Lunch and Learn for survivors only. The group learned watercolor painting techniques for relaxation.

MOCA Cares Kits

MOCA Cares Kits are backpacks filled with comfort items including a mug, tea, soft socks, journal, pen, blanket and more. Our Cares Kits are available to women recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer and to those experiencing a recurrence. In 2021, MOCA provided 54 Cares Kits to survivors.

MOCA Dream Awards

MOCA Dream Awards are funded entirely by generous donors to help survivors live their lives to the fullest and achieve their dreams. In 2021, the Jenna Simon Memorial Dream Award was established with MOCA to provide up to $2,500 for one family to experience a special place or event together.

MOCA presented 10 women with Dream Awards totaling more than $29,000 in 2021. Since 2008, nearly $470,000 has been awarded through our MOCA Dream Awards.

“Thank you, MOCA for making my mother’s dream a REALITY. We are all grateful. The fight is not over yet—but celebrating her life in a very special way gave her more courage to continue… this will remind her that we are all in this together!” 

Daughter of MOCA Dream Award Recipient

Accelerating Progress

Reaching out to our community and raising awareness about ovarian cancer

MOCA events inspire survivors and loved ones, build community and raise awareness about ovarian cancer. MOCA’s HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer event and Light Duluth Teal Gala provided important opportunities for our community of survivors and supporters to gather, connect and make an impact against this disease.

MOCA 2021 Events

Watch the video

HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer

MOCA’s annual walk and run event is our largest annual community event of the year. HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer returned as an in-person event for 2021. Attendees walked, ran and raised nearly $275,000 to change the course of ovarian cancer.





Light Duluth Teal Gala

The MOCA community gathered for our annual Light Duluth Teal Gala at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. This entertaining and inspiring evening in the Northland raised more than $55,000 for MOCA’s ovarian cancer research and programs.

Virtual Spin It Teal/Give to the Max Day Efforts

MOCA’s combined Give to the Max Day and Spin It Teal efforts raised a total of $82,000 for ovarian cancer research focused on preventing recurrence. MOCA supporters Bob and Pam MacDonald hosted the virtual Spin It Teal event. The MacDonalds provided generous matching funds to help maximize donations.





Fight Like a Girl Motorcycle Rally

This motorcycle rally is held annually in Greater Minnesota to benefit MOCA. The event and auction raised more than $10,000 for MOCA’s research and programs in 2021.

Unleash the SHE Virtual Event

Unleash the SHE is a 5K/10K race in Rochester, hosted by Final Stretch, Inc. to support MOCA. Participants ran and walked during this in-person event to raise $5,200 for MOCA in 2021.





Shop for a Cause

HOM Furniture supports MOCA through their annual Shop for a Cause event. With every $10 donation to MOCA, shoppers receive a 10% discount off sale prices at HOM Furniture stores. The May 2021 event raised $40,000 to support MOCA’s mission.

Health Fairs and Awareness Initiatives

MOCA raises awareness about ovarian cancer at health fairs, parades and community events. MOCA staff and volunteers took part in 20 awareness initiatives in 2021.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

MOCA continued our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) efforts by reaching out to BIPOC communities and underserved populations. MOCA provided symptom cards in several languages including Spanish, Somali, Hmong and Vietnamese. MOCA’s EDI committee led outreach to BIPOC communities at our HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer event in 2021. Committee members spoke with those interested in learning more about MOCA and discussed ways to get involved. Throughout the year, EDI committee members participated in educational sessions, attended community events and met with BIPOC community leaders to help MOCA expand our outreach efforts.

Tie It Teal with the Twins

In August 2021, MOCA participated in our annual Tie It Teal with the Twins Night at Target Field and shared our mission with thousands of Minnesota Twins baseball fans at the game and through media outreach.

Minnesota Wild Charity of the Month Game

MOCA was honored as the Charity of the Month during a Minnesota Wild hockey game in November. MOCA received special recognition at the game and volunteers shared symptom cards and bracelets with thousands of fans to educate them about ovarian cancer.

MOCA Lights the Night

MOCA’s Light the Night campaign is held annually every September to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. In 2021, MOCA lit up 22 buildings bridges and landmarks across Minnesota, North Dakota and Mayo Clinic campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Jacksonville, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Trees of Hope Campaign for MOCA

This important awareness and fundraising initiative is made possible by HOM Furniture and WDIO-TV. The Trees of Hope campaign featured several news stories on WDIO-TV to educate viewers about the disease and MOCA’s mission. HOM Furniture and WDIO-TV also hosted a phone bank to raise funds for MOCA during the holiday season.

MOCA in the Media

MOCA shared more than 29 unique stories (more than 70 stories total) about ovarian cancer and our mission with the media throughout Minnesota and the United States. With the help of sponsors, MOCA also raised awareness through billboards and radio and TV public service announcements in the Twin Cities and Duluth.

The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance has received the following ratings:

  • GuideStar Platinum Participant
  • Charities Review Council Meets Standards
  • BBB Wisegiving Alliance Meets All 20 Standards for Charity Accountability
  • Charity Navigator 3 Stars for High Level of Transparency and Accountability

GuideStar Platinum Participant logo, Charity Navigator - Three Star Charity logo, Charities Review Council - Meets Standards logo
Statement Of Activities 2021
Statement of Financial Position 2021

The information presented is drawn from Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance’s financial statements, audited by CliftonLarsonAllen. They are available upon request or on our website at mnovarian.org

2021 Revenue

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2021 Expenses

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Board Members

Board Members

Staff Members