Metro Detroit women want test for silent killer that took their close friend

Jacqueline E. Bayley Foundation working with Karmanos Cancer Institute to find a way to diagnosis ovarian cancer earlier

To hear her friends describe her, Jacqueline Bayley seemed like the friend everyone wants to have in their life.

She was an attorney, a wedding planner and so much more.  Friends and family called her a "force of life."

"She was absolutely the most talented person I have ever had the pleasure to know," said friend Dana Bennett.  "Being friends with Jackie was like having Martha Stewart and Bob Vila and Judge Judy and Emily Post at your disposal. She could lay a hardwood floor and tile a bathroom, host a beautiful, elegant party, organize and plan a wedding. Not only was she an attorney, but she was also a wedding planner and had her own business."

"She was the person for me when I called, when I had a question about anything, from what restaurant should I go to, to full crisis mode, what should I do in this situation?" said Eleanore Schroeder.

Bayley's friends were devastated when the 31-year-old was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

The diagnosis came after Bayley suffered some stomach issues on a Tuesday. She went to her internist and by Thursday, she learned she had ovarian cancer.

Bayley battled for two years before the deadly disease took her life.

"From the moment she was gone she was deeply deeply missed," said Bennett.

"We feel such a huge lost that she's gone. It's been devastating," said friend Kari Haddrill.

Bayley died in August of 2011. Less than one month later, friends Dana, Eleanore and Kari came up with a way to keep her spirit alive.  

"I think that the foundation started as a coping mechanism and it absolutely began where we would sit around and have lovely conversations and remember when stories for Jackie," said Bennett.

They created the Jacqueline E. Bailey Foundation.

"The primary goal of the foundation is to ultimately help fund an early detection test for ovarian cancer. Right now there isn't one, like the mammogram for breast cancer, PSA for prostate cancer," said Bennett.

The foundation has partnered with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, where researchers are using the money the foundation raises to help develop a detection test.

The foundation is fundraising everywhere with the help of Bayley's friends all over the country. Most recently they received a $9,500 check from the Oakland County Bar Association at a Detroit Tigers' game.

These women are motivated by the loss of their friend.

"We frequently reference the fact that if Jackie were here, what would Jackie do and how would she do it?" said Bennett. "She's the barometer to whether or not we think we are being successful."

They're also educating women about ovarian cancer, which is often known as a silent killer.

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries and often goes undetected until it has spread to other areas of the pelvis and abdomen.   According to the Mayo Clinic, ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat and frequently fatal.

"Jackie was very concerned about the next 31-year-old girl who could be blindsided by such a scary diagnoses of stage 4 ovarian cancer. And when she wrote to her friends and family and supporters while she was battling the disease, she specifically referenced that she didn't want another 31- year-old woman to be shocked by this certain diagnosis," says Bennett.

Bayley's friends know what she would tell other women if she is were still alive today.

"I think to listen to your body. Jackie was an advocate for herself and really listened to some of the symptoms that she had," Haddrill said.

These women plan to grow their foundation and hope to find ways to help women who are fighting ovarian cancer.

For more information on the Jacqueline E. Bayley Foundation, click here.

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