Daughter remembers mom with participation in Half Ironman Marathon to benefit cancer fund at Karmanos.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Chantal Wentworth-Mullin, left, is pictured here with her mother, Micheline Wentworth
Micheline Wentworth, a woman described by her eldest daughter, Chantal Wentworth-Mullin, as “beautiful” and “tough as nails,” may have lost her life to ovarian cancer, but her spirit lives on in Chantal.
Micheline (“Mimi” to her six grandchildren) Wentworth, 65, passed away on March 28 of this year after being treated at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center by Robert Morris, M.D., leader of the Gynecologic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Center. To memorialize her mother, Chantal is taking part in the Michigan Titanium Half Ironman Marathon August 25 just outside of Grand Rapids.
“I think it’s a great way to memorialize my mother, who had a very strong spirit,” Chantal said. “I like long-term goals that challenge me.”
Monies raised will be contributed to the Micheline Wentworth Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research, a fund established by Micheline in late 2012. The fund assists Karmanos scientists in developing more effective screening and early detection of ovarian cancer. This research will facilitate the administration of therapies at more treatable stages and support the development of novel therapies. The fund also assists in the establishment of a registry of genetic information unique to ovarian cancer.
Dr. Morris oversees the fund.
“My mother absolutely loved Dr. Morris,” Chantal said. “She had full faith in Dr. Morris and she believed he had the ability to get closer to finding a cure for ovarian cancer than anyone else she knew.”
Chantal, a mother of two young daughters and a stepson, already has raised almost $4,000 towards her $10,000 goal – something she’s pleased but not surprised about, considering the tremendously positive impact her mother had among family and friends.
“It’s been interesting to see how broad her reach was,” Chantal said, noting that her mother was a French teacher at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills. “Everybody loved her. She was the glue that kept everyone together.”
Born in Belgium, Micheline was diagnosed with ovarian cancer about three-and-a-half years ago. She had surgery at an out-of-state hospital and then came to Karmanos for treatment with Dr. Morris. She received many varieties of chemotherapy but they all became ineffective against her cancer tumors. Her daughter recalls her mother’s bright outlook through her cancer journey – a spirit that emulated the way she lived.
“She always wanted to keep things on the positive side,” Chantal said. “She knew she had grandbabies coming.”
Chantal has already begun her training for the Half Ironman Marathon, which will include 56 miles of bicycling; 13.1 miles of running and 1.2 miles of swimming. Chantal’s father, Bill Wentworth, said the desire to take part in the Half Ironman Marathon while raising support for the fund is characteristic of his daughter.
“Chantal is a giving person, just like her mother,” Bill said. “She is also very determined to accomplish her goals and willing to take on big challenges.”
Bill added that Dr. Morris was a wonderful doctor, as was all the staff he and his wife encountered at Karmanos.
“Dr. Morris is a real pro,” he said. “He has it all – intelligence, energy, professional pedigree, knowledge and an overwhelmingly strong desire to help his patients. He is a perfect fit for Karmanos and his patients.”
Dr. Morris said he is grateful for the family’s efforts in maintaining a resource that will allow him and his colleagues to research ovarian cancer, a disease that affects more than 22,000 women in the United States and takes the life of more than 14,000 of those women each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
“I truly admire Chantal for her participation in the Half Ironman Marathon,” he said. “Her mother, Micheline, had such incredible spirit. It’s through the efforts like those taken by the Wentworth family that inspire me and my fellow scientists to continue working on a cure for this disease. We at Karmanos wish Chantal the best of luck with her marathon!”
To make a donation to the Micheline Wentworth Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research, call (248) 304-2931; make a contribution online at karmanos.org/ways-to-give/donations; or send a check payable the Karmanos Cancer Institute and mail to Micheline Wentworth Fund, Karmanos Cancer Institute, 4100 John R, Mailcode NC06DS, Detroit, MI 48201. Please include a note that your donation is in memory of Micheline Wentworth. Contributions to Chantal’s fundraising efforts also can be made by going to crowdrise.com/michelinewentworthfund.