Who is Bridget Nesko, BSN, RN and Why Project KOCA?

The Bridget Nesko Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to the memory of Bridget Nesko, BSN, RN who died November 28, 2022, from the ravages of ovarian cancer at the age of 55.

The Bridget Nesko Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to the memory of Bridget.

Project KOCA is supported by that Foundation.

Bridget (Flynn) Nesko was a gentle, active, humble, caring, kind, intelligent, independent, passionate, engaged, and engaging woman. She was a self-made and accomplished registered nurse, publisher, journalist, photojournalist, radio broadcaster, voice-over artist, educator, entrepreneur, community activist, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, cousin, and friend. First and foremost, Bridget was driven to apply her compassion, healthcare knowledge and nursing skills to help save the lives of countless individuals – from family members to patients and strangers.

Early signs of this cancer were present as much as six years prior to her diagnosis. They went undetected, until her illness reached a critical and virtually incurable “Stage Three” level by February of 2021.

After diagnosis by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Kimmel Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Bridget sustained a tough and dangerous 17-month battle that included 21 separate chemotherapy treatments – each leaving her sicker and weaker, and each being less effective in fighting the cancer than the treatment before it.

Like many ovarian cancer victims, Bridget suffered – and died – horribly, leaving behind devastated family, friends, former patients and professional acquaintances.

Had Bridget – a nurse by profession – had the opportunity of an early CA-125 blood test, that test would have indicated the cancer’s presence, leading her towards further examination, testing and earlier treatment.

Within days of her death, Bridget’s family, friends and even former patients helped to organize and fund the Bridget Nesko Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. – Foundation with the vision of honoring Bridget’s name and legacy.

A 501c3 registered nonprofit charity, the Foundation provides scholarships to children of families impacted by ovarian cancer, does aggressive grass roots ovarian cancer awareness advocacy for the public and among healthcare professionals.

Project KOCA – The Foundation is presently evaluating the ways and means of implementing a revolutionary pilot program called Project KOCA – or Kick Ovarian Cancer’s Ass – to make CA-125 blood testing available to women exhibiting two or more early symptoms of ovarian cancer. Testing would be made available to candidates who are unable to afford such tests, or who are unable to locate a medical team willing to undertake such testing.

The 18 month pilot program is focused on the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, but depending on its success and outcomes, the Program could be expanded geographically, and could include and BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing as well.

Bridget Nesko, entrepreneur, “taking care of business” working as photojournalist and promoter for her community newspapers the Clayton Free Press and the New Jersey Free Press

If we can reduce the number of ovarian cancer deaths by increasing women’s awareness and access to early testing, our journey is worth it.