Breast Friends plan Celebration of Hope
Breast Friends, a nonprofit organization that offers resources for women and families facing a diagnosis of breast, ovarian and other cancers, will hold its annual luncheon from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Double Tree Lloyd Center, 1000 N.E. Multnomah St., Portland.
The event, called "Bountiful — A Celebration of Hope," will include educational sessions from 9-10:50 a.m. as well as a luncheon and a fashion show featuring apparel from Chico's apparel.Tickets are $30 for cancer survivors and $40 for supporters.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Kara Dolce, founder of Fighting Pretty, a nonprofit that helps women feel strong and beautiful during and after cancer. Elsa Mitchell, a physical therapist and nutritional therapy practitioner, will discuss nutrition; Dr. Shani Fox, a naturopathic physician and certified life coach, will talk about fear of recurrence.
Cancer survivor Christy Allcroft of Lake Oswego urges all women to attend "Bountiful — A Celebration of Hope" to support an organization that was there for her at a time when she didn't know what help she needed.
"Breast Friends is an unbelievable resource," she said. "I had heard about them and was clueless to what I would experience having cancer. All the counselors have had cancer themselves."
Even though every person experiences cancer treatment in a unique way, the shared experience gives Breast Friends counselors insight that others might not have. The nonprofit was founded in August 2000 by cancer survivors Sharon Henifin and Becky Olson, who became acquainted as co-workers in 1991.
Henifin was the first in their circle to be diagnosed with breast cancer, in 1993. Olson received her first diagnosis in 1996. Through their experiences during the next few years, both women realized that friends, though well-intentioned, were unsure of how to help.
As a result, Henifin and Olson often found themselves feeling isolated and afraid, as though they were fighting the disease alone. Now, the mission of Breast Friends is to ensure that no woman goes through cancer alone.
The organization is a unique resource for women, their family, friends, co-workers and the community, helping to minimize the fear and isolation of cancer. For more than a decade, the programs of Breast Friends have empowered thousands with emotional support and hope.
When she was going through her cancer treatments, Allcroft said Breast Friends helped her get used to the changes she would need to make.
"You are not the same person you were before," she said. "I questioned who I was, and what I was going to do to get my strength back."
Breast Friends helped her figure out what her strengths were and to think about the future.
"I don't know if I would have gotten through this journey as healthy without Breast Friends," she said.
To reserve seats for "Bountiful — A Celebration of Hope," call 888-386-8048 or visit breastfriends.org.