GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) - One of the deadliest cancers, ovarian cancer, is often called the silent killer.
That's in large part because its symptoms are hard to spot.
Now one local family has made it their mission to fight this disease.
“I just remember her being really outgoing and dancing and stuff, and I like dancing,” 11-year-old Parker Whiteside said of his late mom, Shannon. “She was really funny, and she was a Colts cheerleader.”
Parker Whiteside is only a sixth grader, but he was forced to grow up fast.
“When I was three and my baby brother was one, his name is Brady, my mom died of ovarian cancer,” Parker said.
Shannon Whiteside was only 24-years-old when she passed away.
“I had to tell her she had cancer,” her husband, Robert Whiteside, said shortly after her death. “Before I could even get it out of my mouth, she said, ‘I know Bobby, I know.’”
She and Robert were the parents of two little boys.
“She died while I was holding her,” Robert said at the time. “You can’t get more permanent that that.”
Shannon was a Colts cheerleader, but what she wanted most was to be a mom.
“Over the last 9 years, I've seen my boys grow up into wonderful young men that I know their mom's looking down from heaven and smiling on,” Robert said recently.
Now Parker's bringing awareness to other women.
“I have a fundraiser, and people are pledging money for every tackle and touchdown I have,” Parker explained.
No. 15 at Center Grove Bantam Football, Parker collects pledges to fight the disease that took his mom.
On the field, he's the one in the teal socks; off the field, he wears a teal ring and bracelet. Teal is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.
Symptoms are common and include bloating, pelvic pain and feeling full quickly. But if symptoms last more than two to three weeks, women are urged to see a doctor.
The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2013, more than 22,240 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The ACS estimates that 14,230 will die from the disease.
Back in Center Grove, the Whiteside family is growing. Robert remarried, and he and his wife, Lisa, have a little girl named Ava.
And big brother Parker is turning his tragedy into hope.
“It's been 9 years, but the little man hasn't lost focus,” Robert said. “You know, he wears a teal bracelet, teal rings, which, maybe that's not cool for an 11-year-old boy, but I think it's awfully cool."
At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the city of Indianapolis will 'Turn the Canal TEAL' for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Then Saturday, a 5K run/walk kicks off at 8 a.m. at City Market. 24-Hour News 8’s Karen Hensel will emcee that event.
These events are organized by Indy-based group Ovar'coming Together. Because the group is local, any money donated stays local.
Click here to donate to Ovar'coming Together.
Click here to pledge money to Parker Whiteside.
Greenfield police officers are spending their Sunday giving 41 deserving children a day out on the town for the holidays.
A winter weather advisory was issued for Wayne, Union, Switzerland, Ripley, Ohio, Franklin, Fayette and Dearborn counties on Saturday night.
IMPD officials say a 3-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head Saturday evening.