Women Who Inspire Us: Jane E. Werner

Jane Werner with her daughter Ann on the Portland Spirit.

"She cared deeply for her community and helping those who were less fortunate. She always thought having a positive attitude and being physically active helped any problem," Ann Werner says of her mother, Jane. She was a generous and wonderful role model.

When Ann Werner was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2003, women with this condition typically had just an 80 percent chance of living for five years. After extensive surgery to remove Ann's tumors, her doctor, Tanja Pejovic, M.D., Ph.D., immediately enrolled her in a chemotherapy research trial.

Thirteen years later, Ann is thriving and attributes her good health to the care she received at the OHSU Center for Women's Health. Grateful for the treatment Ann received, her mother Jane Werner, now deceased, contributed generously to support Dr. Pejovic's research on ovarian cancer. She also provided financial assistance to needy women with ovarian cancer. These donations eventually became the Jane Werner Ovarian Cancer Fund.

"Many women are exhausted and fearful during treatment," Ann explains. "The fund was set up to help reduce the fear of 'How will I pay?' and make it easier for families to be together. People come from far away to get the best treatment at OHSU, and this fund helps them do that. "

"The fund helps women with financial needs feel supported," says Karen Lindsey, a social worker at the OHSU Center for Women's Health. Often, grants from the fund are used for transportation or lodging during treatment, but they have also supported such diverse needs as helping a young mother with ovarian cancer buy school clothes for her 11-year old son, and a 55-year old woman fix the brakes on her car so she wouldn't have to take the bus to and from the hospital while undergoing chemotherapy.

"Ovarian cancer is such a challenging disease. It puts a family in crisis, and we are glad to have a grant that can help a patient's monetary worries," Karen says. "It's something positive at a time when much of the news she may be hearing is difficult. Sometimes people cry. Everyone is tremendously grateful."

All donations to the Jane Werner Ovarian Cancer Fund go directly to patients who have clearly expressed financial concerns: It's a direct way to give to those in need.