Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

James Lewis

Second Advisor

Kyle Lewis


Growing up, most of us consider our parents to be invincible or untouchable. I know that I did. Sadly, my life took a dramatic turn at the age of 19. That’s when my dear mom, Maureen Klage--the one who was always there for me, passed away from ovarian cancer. She was just 48 years old.

At the time, I didn’t know much about ovarian cancer. I had learned only a little bit of information from my mom while she was battling the disease. But, realizing that I, too, might be at risk for this cancer, I decided to find out more. In the course of my research, I discovered that ovarian cancer is one of the hardest cancers to catch in women. When it is finally detected, it is often in an advanced stage. Once I learned this information, I knew I wanted to do something to get the word out about ovarian cancer and help women of all ages.

I consulted my mentor, Dr. James Lewis, and expressed a desire to do something involving ovarian cancer awareness. Dr. Lewis, Associate Professor of Human Performance and Health Education at WMU, suggested linking my thesis project to an event that was already well established: the Annual Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (KRVT) Fall Color Bike Cruise.

With the help of Dr. Lewis and the students in his class—HPHE 3710: Practical Recreation Programming & Leadership--we piggybacked our ovarian cancer awareness event to the Fall Color Cruise. We also decided that it would be a good idea to solicit a healthcare partner, and since my Mom had been treated at West Michigan Cancer Center, it was the obvious choice. WMCC embraced the project and supported the event with volunteers and giveaway items. The bike cruise was held on October 13th and the theme was ‘Ovar-come the Silence’. It exceeded every expectation I had! Planning an event to raise awareness for ovarian cancer was a dream of mine for quite some time. With hard work and dedication, my dream became a reality that day. The event was a lot of work, including planning for the event more than a year in advance, but it was well worth it!

The 2013 KRVT Fall Color Cruise had 480 registered participants, from young children, to grandparents. With the help of my fellow students, we spread the word about ovarian cancer with handouts including bracelets, car magnets, water bottles stuffed with informational flyers, and bike flags for the children!

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

LHC Thesis Defense PP.pdf (1726 kB)
Powerpoint Presentation