Faced with the unexpected recurrence of ovarian cancer in 2015, Serena found herself scouring the internet for answers. Diagnosed with the rare granulosa cell tumor, she found that information was scarce. She was disheartened at being unable to find one, solid source of help for all that she was facing physically and emotionally. What she did find online were dozens of other women dealing with this cancer type telling horror stories of being misdiagnosed, undergoing botched surgeries that caused their cancer to spread, and finding few, if any, doctors who had heard of their cancer type. They, too, were exhausted from searching for answers about treatment options and their disease process It became clear that more needed to be done, not only for herself, but for other survivors, as well.
This desire to look beyond herself for ways to help was not new. It started when she was a young girl, and became more focused during her college years at the University of South Carolina. There, she found scores of opportunities to work alongside others who also felt compelled to find tangible ways to help to meet the needs of others.
After graduating, and knowing that education is power, she served as a volunteer adult literacy tutor. On nights and weekends, she was an on-call driver with Sistercare, Inc., taking women from hospital emergency rooms to waiting shelters. Talking with, and listening to, the women as she transported them to safety, she hoped to play a role in empowering them to permanently escape their abusive relationships.
After moving to Greensboro, NC, she joined the ranks of various volunteer organizations serving at men's and women's homeless shelters in a number of capacities that allowed her to provide immediate assistance where needed. Through The Black Child Development, Institute, she tutored in an after school program.
Currently living in Charlotte, NC, she continues to serve the homeless in the community through a number of non-profits. She is a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery Program, providing those who don't have access to transportation a viable way to and from their medical appointments. She speaks regularly to medical students at area hospitals, sharing her cancer journey through the Survivor Teaching Students Program by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
So it is no surprise that she has married her heart for service together with her awareness of a need in order to found Outdone with Ovarian Cancer. Through it, she desires to educate, encourage, empower, and support survivors like herself. It is her hope that the need for organizations like this will soon be obsolete.