Bow after bow, Mike Smith and Abby Instone tie teal ribbons on trees in Johnstown.
“We’ve got an excellent bow-tier here,” Smith said, as Instone tied a knot.
Smith is the president of Laurel Auto Group. Instone is a 16-year-old junior at Bishop McCort High School. The two might not seem like they’d have much in common, but the teal ribbons tie them together.
“My grandma died from Ovarian Cancer about six to seven years ago,” said Instone.
Smith’s wife, Ann, also died from the disease.
“She was diagnosed in 2000 and went through treatments for two years and unfortunately passed in July of ’02,” said Smith.
Before Ann passed away, she wanted to help other women. She and her family started the Ann Harris Smith foundation.
“‘Til her last breath she was like, ‘You have to raise money and you have to create this foundation and make it work,'” Smith said.
Every September, in honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, the foundation, Laurel Auto Group, students and volunteers from all over Cambria and Somerset Counties “Turn the Towns Teal” to raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer and educate people about the symptoms.
“We’ll never know, but had the diagnosis been made a little bit sooner, who knows what the outcome might have been,” Smith said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, is to get people to ask, ‘Why are those ribbons there?’ and ‘Gee, maybe I’ve had some of those symptoms.”
One tree at a time, one woman at a time, Smith and Instone are a step closer to educating their community.
If you’d like to learn how to get teal ribbon to tie around your community, you can contact Laurel Toyota located at 933 Eisenhower Blvd, Johnstown, PA 15904 or by calling them at: 814-269-3400.
To learn more about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, visit the Ann Harris Smith Foundation’s website.