Battling cancer and helping others

Waterford resident named TBBCF 2019 honorary walk chair


Anne Ogden of Waterford has been named honorary chair of the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation 2019 Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut.

She will participate in the 14th annual walk, which will take place Oct. 5, 2019, and will make closing remarks at the end of the day. The walk includes a marathon, which starts in Old Saybrook and ends at Camp Harkness in Waterford. It includes a half marathon, a quarter marathon and a 5K that will be held at Camp Harkness.

“I wasn’t going to go public,” said Ogden, 57, who was diagnosed in December with breast cancer, underwent two surgeries – a lumpectomy and a re-excision – and did several weeks of radiation. “But then two friends were called back for retests and they never went back. I thought, maybe if I talked about it, they’d be inspired to get rechecked.”

Ogden, works for Total Mortgage Services and is the owner of Lighthouse Reflection Photography. She is out in the community quite a bit at fundraisers, awards ceremonies and other events for nonprofits. You’ve seen her. She’s usually the one behind the camera. This year she was named Volunteer of the Year” by the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.  And she likes to share her active life on social media – her feed is filled with pictures of community events and images of children and grandchildren, birthdays and anniversary celebrations.

But after her diagnosis, she was reluctant to talk about it. Of course, her family knew. And she told the organizations she works with. But most of her friends just started seeing more inspirational postings on Facebook, images of bucolic scenes and beautiful flowers. Then in April, Ogden posted a picture of the sign outside Smilow Cancer Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the conversation began. She called it #myunexpectedjourney2019 and posted an explanation of everything she was going through up to that point. She had more than 150 comments on her post.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone,” Ogden said recently over coffee at one of her favorite haunts – Muddy Waters on Bank Street in New London. But then she thought maybe if she shared her story, she could help someone going through the same thing.

Her inspirational posts took on new meanings. She added text to let people know what was going on.

“Nothing can prepare you to hear the words ‘you have cancer,’” began her first post that let her Facebook friends know she was fighting the disease and giving it all she’s got. She also mentioned the two friends who were inspired by her to take better care of themselves.

She concluded, “I was hesitant to put my diagnosis on social media – not wanting the pity/sympathy … (But) I have decided to share my experiences and hopefully inspire others to be aware of your body and find your ‘why” to living. More info to come …”

In mid-May she posted a video of herself banging a gong at Smilow to signify the end of radiation treatments. Now she shares news stories about cancer treatments and other articles, including one “7 Things Never to Say to Someone with Cancer.” She recently celebrated the birth of her new grandbaby.

Ogden said she also hopes to help people understand the importance of learning their family medical history and to listen to their bodies when something doesn’t seem right.

“In general, women do for others and neglect themselves,” she said.

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