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Ovarian Cancer Awareness month has personal significance for University of Findlay student

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FINDLAY, OH (WNWO) - Cities across the nation are “Turning the Town’s Teal” for Ovarian Cancer. But the movement is personal for one local college student.

Sarah Ludinich was hard at work last fall. She was in her final year of undergrad at the University of Findlay, where she was training to be a physical therapist. Add in a part-time job, a social life, and an active workout schedule, and Sarah had her hands full. Then, the unthinkable happened.

“I was exercising one day at our rec center," she explained, "and I layed down to do an exercise on my belly. And I felt a mass in there, and I knew that it wasn’t quite right.”

That was enough for Sarah to go in for an ultrasound.

When she first walked in, she was told it would take a few days to hear back from the radiologist.

“So she did the ultrasound, and she stopped and put everything down and looked at me. And goes, ‘Is that your mom in the waiting room?’ I said yeah. She goes, ‘I want you to bring her in.” And so she brought her and says, “I am going to call the radiologist. He’s going to read this right away, and we’re going to do a CT scan today.”

November 18th, the day after her 21st birthday, Sarah learned she had ovarian cancer. By the time she had surgery just a few weeks later, the mass had grown so large that she appeared pregnant.

Sarah said, “And so I got set up with an oncologist at The James, and had surgery on December 12th to remove a basketball sized tumor from my belly. Yep.”

From there, Sarah underwent 28 chemotherapy treatments, a second surgery, and “four Nuelasta shots, which are excruciating.”

But on April 11th, she was declared cancer free. That same day, she scheduled her next semester of classes at Findlay, and adopted her dog, Lucy.

“So you have to kind of find a new normal with life after cancer," Sarah explained, "and it was really hard to find that normal at first. And then, when I got her, it kind of gave me a purpose.”

Now Sarah’s days consist of classes, exercising, taking care of Lucy, and waitressing. But she also works to educate people about the signs of ovarian cancer, which can be easily overlooked. Things such as abdominal bloating, pelvic pain, and feeling full quickly.

“Tell you physician. Tell your parents. Tell someone ‘I know something’s not right, so please work on it.’ And don’t be afraid. With reproductive health it gets very personal, but it’s a very real thing.”

As for what’s next? Sarah is already doing physical therapy with a little girl from New Riegle.

“She is why I know I am going to love what I do. And so I can’t wait. I either want to do pediatrics or work for a sports team. I would love to work for Ohio State.”

Something else Sarah is looking forward to is having children. At first, they were not sure if that would be a possibility. But the hard working doctors were able to save all of her reproductive organs. She told NBC 24 that, when she found out, she was on cloud nine

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