A disease, but not a death sentence | VailDaily.com

A disease, but not a death sentence

Carolyn Pope/Vail DailyChris Bearmam-Vonwald, Annagret Kramer and Gloria Hassman.

Breast. Cancer.Two words that arent comfortable to say, but must be spoken. Breast. I dont know many who are completely comfortable with this word, unless, of course, its a form of poultry on a dinner plate accompanied by mashed potatoes and green peas.Cancer. Fear. Bad word. Problem is, Im at that age where friends get sick. I know, also, that it will only get worse; with age comes a susceptibility to disease that, when youre younger, your immune system seems to repel.

Or, perhaps, its just that I know more people, and, with the aging process, its merely the odds. Im not sure. Either way, I look at my amazing group of friends and wonder, Who will it be? Will it be me? Its not a question of if, anymore, but who and when and what.One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, though, with early detection and the strides being made to combat the disease, particularly in its early stages, the disease is not a death sentence.About 350 people attended the 12th annual Celebration of Life luncheon last week at the Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch. The event, a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Awareness Group, featured motivational speaker Linda Armstrong Kelly, mother of cycling champion. She spoke on the challenges of being a single working mother raising her son.Channel 9s Kim Christiansen emceed the event, and, with her quick wit and rapport, she had the audience eating out of her hand in moments. She introduced her sister, Keri, who will be one year without breast cancer on Aug. 19. Women in the audience were asked to stand if they have had or currently have breast cancer. At most every table, a woman stood, holding her head high.

It is so heartwarming to see the path that the board has picked up and kept this organization helping so many people in this valley, no matter what echelon, said Brenda Himelfarb, a co-founder of the breast cancer group. Each guest who attended received her book, Breast Cancer 101.The Breast Cancer Awareness group was founded eleven years ago by Himelfarb and Patti Weinstein, and, since its inception, has raised more than $300,000. Since then, approximately 120 women have received Day to Play funds and another 20 have received more than $2,000 in financial assistance. In 2004, the group committed $75,000 to the Sonnenalp Breast Diagnostic Imaging Center at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center. Their goal is to ease the financial and emotional burdens endured by those women in Eagle County who are battling breast cancer.For more information on the Breast Cancer Awareness Group, call 970-479-8595.

Reg Francoise, Greg Repetti, Jeffrey Thaxton and Tony ORourke.

Margo Hields, Sara Charles, Kim Christensen with her sister, Keri, and Lisa Pease.

Andrea Jones and Robin Deighan.

Nancy Nottingham, Debra Hulieatt, Jeannie Chatterton, Phyllis Rounds and Ginny Snowdon.

Mia Vlaar and Ann Springer

Kyle Copeland, Laurie OConnell, Brenda Hawkins and Christine Heimerl.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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