Evelyn Virginia MacMahon Ackerman passed away on July 30, 2010 after a 14-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 71.
Ginger, as she was known, daughter of Raymond C. and Bonnie F. MacMahon, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on June 4, 1939. She grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Avondale High School in 1957 and Oglethorpe University in 1979.
She worked as a political activist and a financial consultant. She was an amazing mother and mentor and an inspiration to all who knew her.
Ginger was an advocate and an activist for ovarian cancer research. Once she recovered from the surgery and nine rounds of chemotherapy that followed her diagnosis, she jumped into action.
At the time she was a member of a gynecologic cancer support group at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta. This group of courageous women didn't want their daughters, granddaughters or any other women to be surprised by an advanced ovarian cancer diagnosis the way they had been.
There is no screening test for the disease and its symptoms are very subtle. With an eye toward educating women about ovarian cancer, on a cold Saturday afternoon in February 1998 at Ginger's dining room table, these brave women formed the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance ("GOCA").
GOCA is still hard at work today pursuing programs to help educate women, medical students and other health care professionals about the risks, symptoms and treatment of ovarian cancer. The organization has reached hundreds of thousands of women statewide and is Ginger's most powerful legacy.
Ginger also served on the board of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance ("OCNA") for seven years and as the organization's president in 2005 and 2006. OCNA coined the phrase, "Until there's a test, awareness is best."
GOCA embraced the phrase and used it as the energy behind its programs. Ginger was among the state and nation's best spokespersons about ovarian cancer for the news media, medical conferences and Websites.
Ginger was preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy Ackerman, in 1987. She is survived by her son, Jim Ackerman, his wife Kimberlee and their children Hadlee, Will and Conor Lounsbury, and by her daughter, Amy Mitchell, her husband Dennis and their children Evy and Jack. Ginger's brother, Reverend Raymond MacMahon, his wife Kathleen and their family, and Ginger's sister-in-law, Jane P. Ackerman and her family, survive her as well.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance at
www.gaovariancancer.org or 404-255-1337; the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance at www.ovariancancer.org or 202-331-1332; or the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at www.ocrf.org or 212-268-1002.
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