How Teal Became my Favorite Color


When it Happened

Hi RallyForRiley team!! I know it has been a while since I last posted but I hope everyone had such wonderful holidays with their families. I am so grateful that I got to be with mine and that everybody is healthy!! 2016 is already here, and I plan on making it incredible! There are so many things I want to accomplish this year and I am hoping that my body will remain healthy to allow me to fulfill all those dreams. This year, one of my main goals is to connect with cancer organizations and hopefully meet with current cancer fighters!! I would absolutely love that. I follow so many stories of such strong people currently in their fight and meeting them all is such a big dream of mine. I have so much respect for these strong warriors. Everyone has such a different story and such different circumstances but none of them are easy. Cancer of any type is terrifying and absolutely heartbreaking. It affects so many families and while some fight longer than others, I believe that any amount of cancer is completely life altering. My diagnosis changed my whole perspective on how I live. I am aware that my battle was shorter and not as brutal as some, but I do understand what it is like to be told that you have one of the most life threatening diseases. I wrote this poem when I got diagnosed, when I felt like I had no control over what was going to happen to me. I felt like there was no way for anyone else to understand what was wandering through my mind. Poetry has always been one way for me to let out my thoughts. I haven’t really shared what I have written in the past, but I have realized that sharing my poetry could possibly help someone who thinks that nobody would understand what they are feeling, just like I did. I hope you enjoy!

Cancer Doesn’t Care

By: Riley Benado

With the world blurring before my eyes

and my ears screaming for the answers,

My body is holding back the cries

as the doctor speaks the word Cancer.

My future becomes unknown

as the killer is coming through

in my bodies combat zone

where there is nothing I can do.

Positivity is so hard to keep

when all your dreams are being crushed.

You can’t seem to put your fears to sleep

when your whole world must adjust.

Doesn’t cancer see,

before it attacks,

All the beauty

In the hearts that it cracks?

I’ll always stand strong

even though I’m what its trying to kill,

and i’ll see these scars lifelong

as a reminder of all I can fulfill.

So Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Hi Friendsūüôā

It has been about 2 months since my surgery and I am in so much shock with how fast time has flown by! It seems like just yesterday that I was in the hospital bed reading all the inspiring messages from all of you. Today, I am feeling well. I am still a little sleepy but my body feels great! Life has gone back to normal; I am finishing my first semester of school and have started working part-time again!

My normal life, however, has changed. Being diagnosed with cancer and being named a cancer survivor has given me a way of finding ordinary things to be absolutely extraordinary. Now more than ever, I believe that everything happens for a reason and I am so grateful for things that I would have just looked right over before all of this.

Looking back, yes I do still believe that being diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer is the scariest thing that I might ever have to face, but I have found a way to see it as a type of blessing. I find it very weird and kind of awful to say that being diagnosed with cancer was a blessing, because this terrible disease is not anything that anyone would ever wish. But, Ovarian Cancer has changed me.

It gave me a purpose.

Ovarian Cancer has helped me find myself. ¬†It has given me the opportunity to meet extremely brilliant people who have all made such a huge impact on my life. It has given me something to be beyond passionate about and something to live for everyday. It has helped me to embrace my love for writing and face my fears of having people read what I have to say. It has allowed me to hear such meaningful stories of so many strong fighter’s out there. It has given me the ability to put my miracle out there to inspire and to give hope to anyone who needs it. It has put me in major magazines like Cosmopolitan and Seventeen to spread awareness for others. It has sent my name across the globe to teach people what Ovarian Cancer is and what to look out for. It has allowed me to tell people all about this unnoticed type of cancer. It has made me more aware of other forms of cancer that people are fighting. It has brought me closer to my love ones and it has brought my communities together. It has shown me a strength inside of me that I never knew I had. It has made me take so much pride in the scars on my body…the scars that show that I am so much stronger than what tried to kill me.¬†

It doesn’t make much sense to me, that something so horrific could do such amazing things. ¬†What I have realized though, is that I was chosen to have this disease, because I was meant to spread the word to the world. I was lucky enough to be named a survivor so that I could get help for all these other warriors. I was meant to be the one to make people notice these diseases and I was chosen to show everyone that miracles really do exist. This is why I can say that I am, in a strange way, happy that cancer picked me…

As you can see, theres so much to be thankful for this year. Healthiness and a miraculous outcome to something that could have ended up much worse. There is not a day go by that I feel so lucky to be in the place that I am. I wish more than anything that nobody had to go through a cancer diagnosis and all the suffering that comes along with it. I really hope that this Thanksgiving everyone holds their loved ones close and does not take one second of being together and healthy for granted. Please remember all the fighters out there not just this Thanksgiving, but every single day. I need my #RallyForRiley team to keep proving that we make miracles happen!



Singing Hands Touching My Heart

Today I met a group of kids who stole my heart.

I first saw Singing Hands when they performed “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and dedicated it to me during my battle. Their video instantly grabbed me and I could NOT stop watching it. After watching it for the 50th time, their performance was still just as outstanding and meaningful as the very first time I watched it. I did not think it could possibly get any better…

Until today.

As soon as I stepped into the Singing Hands studio, I knew I would come out a different person. I was right! Each and every one of the kids I met today made an impact on me. Their smiles inspired me and their beautiful hearts are something I will never forget. When they sat down and signed “Fight Song” for me in person, they put tears in my eyes and reminded me why I fought as hard as I did. Looking into their eyes and hearing their voices sing to me made it all worth it. I am beyond lucky to have gotten to meet them today. They really are absolutely amazing and I will always remember this day!

Thank you Singing Hands for being such a huge part of the reason these miracles have happened to me! I hope to come back and see all of you soon!!

Where I got my strength


It has been two days since I received my wonderful news, and I must say, I am still in shock. I still cannot believe that I was this lucky… Lucky enough to survive cancer

None of this would have been possible without Dr. O’ Hanlan. Her knowledge and amazing performance on my surgery is what saved my life.

My life, however, would not be the life it is without my strong and loving parents. I cannot imagine how hard it was on them to have a child diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. They heard the words that no parents want to hear and still put my happiness as their first priority, when all they wanted to do was break down. It has been a scary road for me, but I cannot imagine how difficult is has been on them. As the one diagnosed, I received endless encouragement and so much backup, but I realize that my parents deserve just as much, if not more recognition as me. I have fought off this disease, but they are really the strong ones. Not just anybody could do what they just did and I am so lucky to have the parents that I have. The kinds of things they do for not only me, but my other three siblings as well, are out of this world. My parents are the most supportive and loving people on earth and I truly could not have fought this disease as hard as I did without them.

So, to you Mom and Dad, Thank you.

Thank you for raising me into the person I am today. Thank you for being such amazing role models. Thank you for always showering me with love and teaching me how to stay strong. Thank you for allowing me to grow up in a positive home with such a loving family. Thank you for enduring all this pain for me (which I am so sorry for). Thank you for finding me the best possible doctor. Thank you for holding back tears and fighting to put smiles on your faces even when you wanted to just break down. Thank you for reminding me that I would always be okay. Thank you for never letting go of my hand while I was in that hospital bed. Thank you for sitting miserably in the waiting room during my whole surgery that felt like it was never going to end. Thank you for constantly making me feel safe. Thank you for giving me the bravery I needed. Thank you for giving me the strength to put up with all of this. Thank you for giving me confidence and reminding me that positivity is the only way. Thank you for holding me during the times that I did break down. Thank you for being my parents and thank you for bringing me into this world. But most importantly, thank you for being you.  

I love you both more than all the stars in the sky. 


The Call

I woke up this morning, just like every other morning, not knowing today was going to be one of the biggest days of my life…

At approximately 1:45 pm, I got a call from Dr. Kate O’ Hanlan. Her sentence started with the word “Congratulations” and already, I could not believe what I was hearing. The pathology results came and described that by taking out the tumors,¬†all the cancer in my body was removed! At this point, I do not have to endure Chemo or Radiation due to finding the cancer in enough time – while it was just inside the tumors and not killing the cells in my organs.

This news is by far the best news that I could have ever received.

I am so blessed that I only had to live this horrible dream for a short time, but I am aware that I will have to fight this battle my whole entire life. Although there is a chance that this cancer will not come back as a result of the wonders that Dr. O’ Hanlan made happen, I will have screenings to go to every year to make sure this disease stays away!

Right now, my family and I are just so speechless. I am so thankful that this emotional journey had such an amazing outcome. I will continue living life thanking my remaining ovary for staying strong and keeping the ability to give me children. All I can think about now is wishing and praying that all others impacted by cancer of any type, have the marvelous miracles and positive outcomes that I have been so lucky to have. Therefore, it is so important to me to use the money that is made by each of the #RallyforRiley fundraisers to first pay for any medical bills involving my surgery and future screenings, but also to put back into the community to help local cancer fighters!

This last month has impacted my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. My main goal will always be to spread awareness for this unnoticed cancer. I have read so many stories and hope I can be the inspiration that other women have been to me. I am extremely blessed to have such an outstanding support system and want all my teal sisters to know that I will forever be Rallying behind you too.

This is the first time I can officially say that today, I am an Ovarian Cancer Survivor.


A Reminder to Be Brave


Hey! It’s me againūüôā

¬†¬†¬†¬† Today,¬†I took a picture with the amazing poster that, just a week ago, was photographed by¬†our courageous¬†troops in Afghanistan.¬†I am even more blown away seeing it in person! When I read every single message signed by each of them, a wave of chills covered my body,¬†and I was overloaded with inspiration to fight this battle harder than I have ever fought before. Having all of them on my team makes it so much easier to be brave and stay strong throughout this difficult time in my life. Once again, I am so thankful! All of you make it so much easier to fall asleep in peace¬†because I know I have the BEST team rallying with me. I couldn’t thank you all enough!!


How it Feels While “Waiting for Answers”

Hey friends,

     When I started my blog, I never expected to get this much recognition. My goal from the very beginning has been to get my own thoughts out, share updates with close loved ones (so I didn’t need to call or text everyone at once!), and also to spread awareness. Never did I imagine that popular magazines and news articles around the world would share my story, or that I would receive so much support from fundraisers put on by my family and friends. I truly can’t thank you all enough, it really has helped my family since we are going through so much, it leaves me speechless, and I hope this is bringing awareness to this disease for other girls or families out there.

¬† ¬† ¬†It has been about a week since my surgery and I am still in shock with everything that has happened since that first visit to the doctor‚Ķ but especially at the miracles Dr. O’Hanlan made happen! I see such a huge difference in my stomach now that all the tumors are removed and although I don’t know the severity of my diagnosis yet, I am feeling so much better. Thank you so much to everyone who commented and left encouraging words. Reading all of your personal stories and battles with cancer has reminded me I‚Äôm not alone, that there is hope, and to stay strong even as this journey begins for me.

¬† ¬† ¬†The fear I have has not gone away, due to so many unanswered questions, but reading and talking to people I can relate to really has helped. Although everyone’s support has made my outlook on this situation so much brighter, I still cannot believe this is my life…

¬† ¬† ¬†It’s crazy to me to think that three short weeks ago I was living my life just like any other teenage girl and now I am here desperately waiting for results to tell me how bad my CANCER is. It seems so unreal. I remember when I first heard the doctor say the word “Cancer” in the same sentence as my name. My life flashed before my eyes and I did not know what to do next. I realize now that ignoring it and pretending this is all a dream that I will soon wake up from is so much easier than facing the truth, but I understand that I do have to come to terms with this to fight it. Often times I find myself wondering why this had to happen to me and why my family was chosen to go through this, but at the same time I am happy It was me who was chosen to go into this war because I could not bare to see one of my siblings or friends go through all of this. I am staying positive and I am keeping my smile on my face, but it is still so hard to sit here showered with flowers and “Get well soon” cards knowing I am fighting a battle that so many people haven’t been able to win, and that scares me. It feels so good to get all this love, but breaks my heart that cancer is the reason why.

¬† ¬† ¬†I also can’t even express how difficult it is to have some of the most qualified doctors tell you that they do not know exactly what kind of Ovarian Cancer you have and that they don’t know exactly how to treat it.. but after my surgery on September 26, 2015, I most definitely DO believe in miracles. The fact that these amazing doctors managed to save my uterus and my left ovary by carefully carving off all of the tumors around them, was absolutely astonishing to hear. All of our prayers were answered and I was so shocked.

I believe that there was some special magic in the operating room that day that made my uterus and ovary rescue possible. I believe that all of the incredible love and support from all of you surrounded me on that operating table and made that miracle happen.

¬† ¬† ¬†Recovering isn’t easy when you don’t know what the future holds. It’s tough to live today while wondering what your body will be able to handle in a couple weeks. I hate not knowing how much cancer is still left in my body and I hate not knowing what treatment will be.

¬† ¬† ¬†Healing for me, however, is happening through the inspiring stories that you are all sharing. Every message has reminded me that I am not alone in this and hearing the battles of others is my motivation to just keep pushing. The #RallyForRiley team has gotten so much bigger than I could have ever expected, and while I am waiting for answers, I hope everyone will rally with me and hope for more miracles… I will continue to do my best…We are beating this one step at a time!¬†



Walking around the block as the doctor ordered, and staying positive and optimistic with all of these beautiful gifts from loved ones‚̧

After Surgery <3

Up and walking around to relieve pains, sleeping safe and sound, and serious conversations with Dr. O’Hanlan.¬†12074823_10153189353762705_873676997808349950_n 12063429_10153189348642705_3155588298078666804_n 12039764_10153189348737705_1479348683917874283_n

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