Kickin’ Cancer: An Interview with Amy Cohen Epstein

By Marla Tellez, Guest Contributing Editor


My relationship with Amy Cohen Epstein and her powerful Kickin’ Cancer campaign is years in the making. It’s also one that I hold near and dear to my heart because we all know someone impacted by cancer. For me, it’s my two maternal aunts.  While they beat breast cancer, tens of thousands of women are still dying from it every year in this country. So, being connected to a woman who has made it her life mission to fight the terrible disease is a true honor.  

As you’ll see in my story with Amy, her personal story of losing her own mother to the other evil that is ovarian cancer is what sparked the Kickin’ Cancer campaign almost 23 years ago. Amy launched the Lynne Cohen Foundation in honor of her mother, and Kickin’ Cancer sheds light on both cancers, but beyond that, it’s actively saving thousands of women’s lives. But she couldn’t do it without community support.  Even in a pandemic, the effort continues and it’s one I couldn’t be more proud of.

*This interview first aired on Fox LA on October 13th, 2020, and is re-published here courtesy of KTTV-TV



Amy Cohen:

Women who are fighting this battle are not stopping because of anything that's happening in this world.

Marla Tellez (Voiceover):

On the very same day Amy Cohen Espstein lost her mother, Lynne Cohen, to ovarian cancer nearly 23 years ago, Amy and her siblings launched the Lynne Cohen Foundation, which has been saving lives ever since.

Amy: 

We've seen over 10,000 women; we've caught over 10,000 cancers.

Marla (Voiceover):

The Foundation supports the Lynne Cohen and Georgia Cord Preventive Care Clinic at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. It serves women who are at high risk for ovarian and or breast cancers. Think of it as a one stop shot for screening, genetic testing, and direct access to a breast or gynecologic oncologist. Best of all, it’s free - for underserved and uninsured women.


Amy: 

Cancer does not care how much money you have in your checking account.

Dr. Roman: 

We're actually seeing it in real time - women coming in with advanced cancers.

Marla (Voiceover):

Dr. Lynda Roman is the Co-Director of the Lynne Cohen Clinic. She says the Coronavirus has kept women from keeping up with their annual exams, and that’s a deadly problem.

Marla: 

So get your mammogram, your annual with your gynecologist doctor, your pap smear.

Marla (Voiceover):

While breast cancer is more common and kills more women annually, ovarian cancer is far deadlier. In 2019, of the 22,000 women diagnosed with it, more than half died. Dr. Roman says that’s because there is no early detection test.


Dr. Roman: 

Unlike breast cancer, ovarian cancer tends to be diagnosed at a later stage. 

Marla (Voiceover):

In any other year, Amy and I would be on this stage in West Los Angeles hosting the Lynne Cohen Foundation’s biggest fundraiser, the  Kickin’ Cancer 5k. This year would have been the 19th annual. Although Covid-19 stopped the event, it’s not stopping Amy from honoring her late mother.

Amy: 

My mom gave it to me to be my job to help as many women as I can. Even if I have to beg at people's feet to give me money to keep doing it, I will.

Photos courtesy of Marla Tellez


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