06/19/2013 04:23 pm ET

The Healing Effect of Sharing 'Private' Women's Health Issues

It's been fascinating to observe the public conversation about Angelina Jolie's decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy.

What began as a headline story about the actress's dramatic surgery has evolved into a serious, educational discussion about women's health.

By sharing the intimate details of her story, Angelina Jolie raised public awareness around the world about the risks, diagnosis, treatment of breast cancer and the links between the disease and ovarian cancer. Her decision to discuss such a personal matter has been educational, inspirational and -- for some -- transformative.

Many women, however, still find it difficult to talk about their personal experiences. We view certain subjects -- whether it's health, fertility, money or career -- as too intimate to discuss publicly, even with our friends. Yet, when we share our personal stories, we empower one another and promote change.

I recognized the power of sharing personal experiences during one of the most devastating times of my life -- the passing of my younger sister, Laura Lia Murray, from ovarian cancer. Upon joining Gurwitch Products, the parent company of Laura Mercier, I soon discovered that the brand's founder, Laura Mercier, had been deeply affected by ovarian cancer as well. Her dear friend Ranee Flynn had been fighting the disease for years.

As we talked about my sister and Ranee, Laura and I knew that we had to do something to make a difference for all of the other sisters, friends, mothers and aunts who are now and will someday, face ovarian cancer. We committed to one another that we would make a difference in the lives of women.

With the help of our colleagues, we developed the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund (LMOCF), a nonprofit initiative designed to raise awareness, fund research and educational efforts that will help diagnose, treat and support woman with ovarian cancer.

We are already changing things for the better and bringing new hope to women with this disease. Friends, colleagues and customers are donating generously to the cause, supporting research efforts to improve diagnosis and find a cure. A growing community is uniting in the fight against women's cancers by educating themselves and others on the facts of ovarian cancer. You can join them. To learn more, please visit:

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