(WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero dedicates her time to spreading awareness for ovarian cancer, which is known as the “silent killer” because it is difficult to diagnose early.

Erin Flanagan Lonsway, the executive director of the Rose Mary Flanagan Ovarian Cancer Foundation, accepted her Hometown Hero award with tears in her eyes. Ovarian cancer is something that hits close to home for her.

“My mom actually started this foundation in 2011 before she passed away of ovarian cancer, so that’s our why. Just to continue awareness and if we touch one person’s life, that’s all that matters,” Lonsway said.

The month of September marks Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Lonsway has organized multiple events to spread awareness as well as raise money. The foundation put up signs and ribbons in downtown Youngstown. Lonsway also hosted a walk and 5K with a survivor acknowledgment.

“Having our survivor acknowledgment is really special to let people know that you can survive this disease and to acknowledge our survivors who have been going through this journey. Just to support and be aware,” Lonsway said.

Lonsway says it’s important to spread awareness about the signs and symptoms of this disease.

“This disease is called the silent disease because there are no symptoms, is what they say, but there are symptoms. They’re very subtle. Again, starts with a belly ache, bloating, indigestion, and we ignore it,” Lonsway said.

According to Lonsway, if the cancer is detected early, there is a 90 percent survival rate.

“We have no reason not to take care of our bodies and know if something’s wrong, go get it checked,” Lonsway said.

Lonsway says spreading awareness is something her mom would be proud of.

“I’m sure she like, ‘I can’t believe they’re keeping it going!’ But yeah, I’m sure she’s, you know, looking down on us saying thank you for people still hearing her voice. Yeah, I’m sure she’s very proud,” Lonsway said.