On Tuesday afternoon, the Vail Marriott Resort Ballroom was full of hope, strength and courage with the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group during its 20th anniversary Celebration of Life Luncheon. The event started with a video describing the beginnings of the group with co-founders Patti Weinstein and Brenda Himelfarb at the helm. The two started the dialogue about breast cancer awareness in 1992 with first lady Betty Ford, the hospital and the community.
VBCAG board president Kristin Kenney Williams shared stories of support and survival with the group citing the early days.
“I think about the courage and strength of first lady Betty Ford, who not only shared on the national stage, but right here with us at so many early luncheons,” she said. “We were so blessed. ... I think about the power of women and the compassion of men.”
There was a theme throughout the presentations that centered around the community having one another’s back in times of need and distress. Williams reminded guests, “Keep annual exams on track, get your first mammogram, give financially and accept financially. When you see that courage and strength are not enough; I ask that you be present and have each other’s back.”
The Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group provides gap funds that are available to cover the gaps in your insurance coverage and along with Pink Vail have provided help to nearly 140 women. VBCAG has also announced the “Shine On” bag, which is full of pampering gifts of care and concern to remind patients that the community has their back.
If the Celebration of Life Luncheon committee had the goal to fight for the cause with laughter, then they were successful. Even though comedian Joy Behar was struggling with a case of altitude illness, she rallied and had the crowd in stitches. Behar used some self-deprecating humor and took us on a journey through her life of ups and downs, looking at hardships such as divorce, unemployment, fear and doubt. Her ultimate message is that her difficulties made her who she is and has become as a successful member of the talk show “The View” for 16 years and a comedic entertainer.
Behar was enamored with Vail and exclaimed more than once, “Is this town for real?”
The Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group extended its sincere gratitude to the many table organizers, individual contributors and generous sponsors, many of whom have supported VBCAG for up to 20 years.
Betty Ann Woodland covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, galas and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at www.highaltitudesociety.com.