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One Valley woman hopes to prevent ovarian cancer by telling her story and shedding light on the “silent killer.”

Anne-Rita-Monahan

On her 40th birthday, Anne Rita Monahan was given news that would change her life, and it was anything but a gift. After struggling for 10 years with several suspicious health issues and being misdiagnosed by multiple doctors, Monahan was ultimately told she had ovarian cancer on Oct. 10, 2001. Seven years later, she is still battling the stage-four disease.

The news could not have arrived at a worse time. Monahan was content with the life she had built in the Valley. A graduate of Arizona State University, Monahan had established a 15-year career in marketing and advertising and achieved her lifelong dream of building a gymnastics studio.

Of course, the news of ovarian cancer was unexpected.

“It’s surreal. It’s like, ‘You must be talking to someone else. You can’t be talking to me,’” Monahan says. “Then you decide, ‘However long I have left, I better make the most of it.’”