Local cancer patients will get a lift and a lot of support from an upcoming event sponsored by a group of Fulton County Health Center employees.
The Second Annual “Cele-BRA-tion” featuring “Cups Full of Cure!” on Oct. 1 will offer the public raffles, dinner, and a unique auction of elaborately decorated brassieres. The event benefits new cancer patients at the facility who may need assistance with their medical expenses.
The event idea isn’t new. But when FCHC mammographer Lynette Shepard was shown an example of a similar event at a Florida hospital she recognized its potential to help local cancer victims.
“I saw that picture and it got my wheels spinning,” she said.
FCHC Human Resource Director Kristy Snyder was supportive, and they joined Shepard’s Radiology Department coworker, Michelle Andrews, Director of Oncology Leisa Britsch, and hospital auxiliary member Mary Gautz to form The Friends of FCHC Cancer Patients. The committee created, “Cele-BRA-tion,” which has replaced mini events Radiology employees held in the past to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
“Being a mammographer, I see cancer on a first-hand basis,” Shepard said. “I see these women come in for their biopsies, and I can’t imagine what they go through. If there’s something little we can do to make it a positive thing, why not do it? Let’s try something where we can actually see the effects right here in our hometown.”
While the event is by FCHC employees and not the facility, “Cele-BRA-tion” will be held in the ground-floor Beck Meeting Room from 5:30 to 8:15 p.m. Activities will include a 50-50 drawing, silent auctions, a basket raffle, and a talk on cancer awareness by Dr. Patricia Mahoney, a general surgeon. Participants can also view artwork from Lilly Oncology.
A presale-only chicken barbecue will be provided by Brookview Farm of Archbold. Tickets for the dine-in or carryout dinner will be available at the FCHC Radiology Department through Sept. 24.
The main feature will be “Cups Full of Cure!”, a live auction of bras symbolizing cancer awareness and uniquely decorated by their contributors. Each auctioned bra will include the creator’s name and either an explanation of the theme or someone’s personal cancer story.
Bras can be decorated and donated by members of the public, but they must be delivered to the FCHC Radiology Department by Monday, Sept. 28. Entries last year included bras transformed into an owl’s face and a purse. All 23 entries sold, with bids reaching as high as $380.
“My mind was blown with what people came up with, and everyone was unique in its own and beautiful way,” Shepard said. “They turned them into masterpieces, they turned them into stories. They turned them into people stories.”
The inaugural event in 2014 was attended by 78 people and raised $5,000. The proceeds were equally distributed in gift cards to foot the medical expenses of 20 of the facility’s newest cancer patients. That process will be repeated this year among FCHC cancer patients newly-diagnosed between July 1, 2014, and June 30 of this year.
Snyder was immediately excited about “Cele-BRA-tion” when Shepard pitched the idea.
“I thought it was a wonderful idea, and very giving of our employees to think about our cancer patients and the financial expenses they incur,” she said. Snyder said the committee starts planning in the summer, “and goes strong until the event is completed. It’s a year-round kind of thing.”
It benefited a number of cancer patients last year, “and we’re looking at this to grow,” she added. The committee has recently discussed producing a school program that will teach children about cancer.
The event is still in need of donated items, including monetary contributions, gift certificates, and items, for the raffle and auctions. Donations can be dropped off at the FCHC Radiology Department.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.