STEPPING UP: A Diagnosis for One Brings Support to Thousands
In less than eight months, Sasha Ottey has created the caring enterprise that is PCOS Challenge, encompassing 3,000 members, 16-week fitness, nutrition and mental wellness programs, a weekly radio show, local offline support groups and a support/social networking web site that attracts 25,000 visitors per month (pcoschallenge.com).
How did she do so much in such a short period of time?
Sasha was galvanized into action by her April 2008 PCOS diagnosis, when her doctor handed her a pamphlet and a pack of birth control pills for treatment and sent her home. "The information in the pamphlet was basic, and I spent a lot of time searching for more information and support. It became immediately evident that there was a need for more support for women with PCOS," she explains.
Thus began the launch of PCOS Challenge, a lively, contemporary and welcoming web site that comfortably integrates scientific information and expert opinions with helpful articles such as "Useful tips for dealing with an awful doctor's appointment." The site's social networking component brings community and camaraderie to a world that can be harsh and isolating.
"I was motivated to create PCOS Challenge because of my own hardship with the condition and knowing that so many other women and their families were impacted in similar ways and needed an integrated support system," says Sasha who, before founding PCOS Challenge, was working in clinical laboratory science as a microbiologist. She notes: "My work covered infectious diseases and epidemiology, some of which was directly related to gynecology, obstetrics, and women's health. I worked in Washington, DC area hospitals and as a government contractor doing research for the Department of Defense."
Sasha's current focus is on PCOS Challenge and related initiatives. She finds that her Masters degree in Health Administration "is immensely valuable in these areas and others contributing to advocacy for women's health."
Having come this far so quickly, what's ahead for PCOS Challenge? "Our company's goal is to serve as an inspiring and motivating force that encourages women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to take control of their lives and to apply appropriate measures to prevent other diseases and illnesses that stem from PCOS. We will continue to seek out partners, experts and sponsors to deliver highly effective, leading-edge programs that support women with PCOS."
The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association fully supports the objectives and efforts of Sasha and PCOS Challenge, and commits our resources to assist in fulfillment of her goals. For updates on specific initiatives, please visit the News and Events section at PCOSChallenge.com and PCOSChallenge.org