Mary (Dicey) Jackson Scroggins, MA, who survived ovarian cancer and went on to become a powerful patient advocate with an extraordinary passion for ending cancer health disparities, died August 1, 2022, at the age of 72.
Scroggins was born February 16, 1950. She held several positions as a writer, editor, and writing instructor before being diagnosed with stage IA ovarian cancer in 1996, at the age of 46. After treatment with surgery and chemotherapy, she remained cancer free for many years.
Her experience as a patient galvanized her into a life of advocacy. Scroggins joined the AACR in 2006 and served the organization in a myriad of roles. Beginning in 2005, she took part in the AACR’s Scientist↔Survivor Program (SSP), attending the AACR Annual Meeting as an SSP participant in 2005 and 2007, then returning as an SSP mentor in 2008, 2009, and 2019.
Scroggins also served as a mentor at the AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in 2008 and the AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in 2009. In 2015, she cochaired the Disparities conference. For eight years, she served as a faculty member at the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop in Vail, Colorado.
She shared her story in the 2013 edition of the AACR Cancer Progress Report and in Cancer Today in 2014. She went on to serve on the Cancer Today Editorial Advisory Board and spoke at a congressional briefing on behalf of the AACR. In 2016, she spoke at the Annual Meeting in a session on the Affordable Care Act.
Scroggins was an active member of the AACR’s constituency groups, Minorities in Cancer Research and Women in Cancer Research. She served on the judging panel for the AACR June L. Biedler Prize for Cancer Journalism and as a member of the Alliance of World Cancer Research Organizations committee. In honor of her dedication, in 2016, Scroggins was recognized with the AACR Distinguished Public Service Award.
Outside the AACR, Scroggins was deeply dedicated to several other cancer and health organizations, serving on committees and advisory boards for multiple groups dedicated to ovarian cancer research and health equity. With one of her daughters, she founded and ran Pinkie Hugs, LLC, a writing and film production firm specializing in social justice-focused documentaries. She also cofounded In My Sister’s Care, an organization focused on improving gynecologic cancer awareness and care for medically underserved women. Most recently, she served as director of global outreach and engagement for the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.
“Mary Scroggins was a true inspiration, and her work with the AACR and beyond leaves a powerful legacy,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Her tireless passion for ending cancer health disparities and improving health equity will benefit patients for years to come.”
Dicey, you my friend were my friend like nobodys business. Our times of laughter will always be remembered and will be missed. Our children are brothers and sisters from two different parents. I will truly truly miss you, even though we didn't speak very often, we didn't have to.
In memory of Dicey, a longtime member of the Fourth Sunday Book Club, whose alternate perspective always made me think beyond the norm. Rest in eternal peace, my sister.
Saddened to hear about Mary Scroggin's passing. I never worked directly with her, but noticed and felt impacted by her around 2014 at an AACR meeting. Such a powerful force; I clearly remembered wondering who she was until I heard her speak! Wow! She was much more than a patient advocate and cancer survivor; she was a passionate teacher and mentor; and she expressed and codified cancer health disparities in real-world terms quite unmistakably! I am honored to have learned from her ideas not readily captured in the peer-reviewed literature, and I am profoundly grateful that her legacy as a giant in the cancer health disparities field is unquestionable!
Wishing her family the best at this time.