Aiken Standard article - September 5, 2011

Post date: Sep 13, 2011 5:7:24 PM

Debbie Mills of Gail's Anatomy and Mary Grace Corbin

in Jackson after the ovarian cancer awareness banners were mounted.

Jackson, Aiken turn teal for awareness

By AMY BANTON - Staff writer -

The color teal becomes a bit more prevalent in September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Teal is the color of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon, and it's popping up around various places including Jackson and Aiken. This is the second year that the Town of Jackson and the City of Aiken have participated in an awareness campaign that speaks volumes of a fairly silent disease.

The local awareness campaign was prompted by Debbie Mills, team captain of the Relay For Life Team Gail's Anatomy. Mills' daughter, Gail, lost her life to ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 30. Mills took that painful loss and turned it into a mission to share information about the disease with as many people as she can to promote early detection and hopefully save lives.

"I look at it as a celebration of Gail and remembering her, being blessed with her, and I know if it can happen to Gail, it can happen to anybody," Mills said. "That's why it's important to me to alert women about the signs and symptoms."

Gail's hometown of Jackson has teal ribbons tied around its trees, a billboard which will be installed sometime this week on Atomic Road and banners hanging from its street light poles.

Jackson Mayor Todd Etheredge said the town is happy and quite proud to participate in Ovarian Cancer Awareness month by turning teal.

"It's really become a great thing and the town supports it," Etheredge said. "Those teal ribbons are bringing a lot of awareness. They (the residents) are asking questions."

The banners that are hanging around Jackson read "In loving memory of Gail Mills" and have the image of a turtle and a teal ribbon around its neck. Turtles were Gail's favorite animal. Mary Grace Corbin designed the banners and helped with the bows.

"She, of course, was a very dear friend of mine, and I just wanted to do something special on the scale of spreading ovarian cancer awareness," Corbin said.

Lisa Holley of Jackson shared a birthday with Gail - Feb. 23. She said that Gail never failed to call her to wish her a happy birthday, and she truly misses her friend. Holley wanted to help with the awareness campaign, so she assisted by garnering donations for the banners.

"Gail was such a special person. For our town to honor her, she deserves every bit of it," Holley said. "I know that she would want to use this to save as many lives as possible and to get the word out there. When she was diagnosed, it took her so fast. She was too young for that to happen to her."

In August, Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh handed Mills a proclamation to turn the city teal. Teal ribbons popped up around the city, and several business owners are helping to spread awareness. Desserves is selling red velvet cupcakes this month with teal icing, and PowerCuts Salon and Spa have "Fight Like A Girl" and "Nothing could be finer than a cure in Carolina" T-shirts available during September.

"I feel like we've come a long way in the awareness campaign," Mills said. "I feel like this is definitely headed in the right direction. We're saving lives, and that's success in any way you look at it."

For more information on Gail's Anatomy or ovarian cancer signs and symptoms, visit