PLATTSBURGH Libby Goller of Champlain and Bonnie Berry of Plattsburgh each know the fear and anguish that comes with a diagnosis of cancer.
Both women were diagnosed with breast cancer right around the same time, some 12-13 years ago. Both are survivors; both are dedicated to helping other women cope with the disease.
And both Goller and Berry are participants in the Komen Albany Race for the Cure on Oct. 6. In fact Goller is the team captain of the Treasure Chests of the FitzPatrick Cancer Center. It is Gollers third year as an event participant.
Goller, twice a breast cancer survivor and a kidney cancer survivor, says it is important to her to be able to participate.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the result of a promise made by a sister to a woman dying of cancer. Since its inception in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has become a global breast cancer movement dedicated not only to finding a cure but to helping women at every stage from causes, cures, and the pain and anxiety felt during every step of the battle.
It is important to note that 75% of all donations will remain in the Northeastern Affiliate of the Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Ultimately the bottom line is finding a cure, Goller said.
She is also an active member of the Reach to Recovery volunteers program.
It was Peg Myers (fellow member of the Treasure Chests) who reached out to me when I was first diagnosed, said Goller.
Libby was my Reach for Recovery, said Berry.
And it is Libby who organizes the Reach for Recovery calls.
It has become a mission for both Goller and Berry and their teammates alike to alert as many women as possible to the importance of getting that yearly mammogram and self-exams too.
Each year we see women diagnosed at younger ages, and we see more and more women in their 20s with breast cancer, Goller said.
We are trying to create a grass- roots organization here in this area with more community involvement, said Goller, noting that the Race for the Cure and sponsorships and grant funding is centered in Albany.
CVPHs FitzPatrick Cancer Center has been awarded grant funding totaling $80,000, which has allowed for them to offer the Doorways to Healing oncology retreats held at the nearby and picturesque Valcour Conference Center.
Goller has attended some of the workshops, which were facilitated by Merideth Whitney.
They [the workshops] help you to deal with the whole situation surrounding a diagnosis of cancer, she began to explain.
They help you learn ways of communicating with your family, she added, and we can all relate to each other, which helps tremendously.
I was amazed at how very quickly the sisterhood bonds formed, Berry added, it helps with the whole process of going through the treatments and living with cancer.
And the workshops are offered free of charge to survivors, said Goller, Elli Collins (oncology nurse specialist) in the FitzPatrick Cancer Center is the facilitator for the workshops of which there have been several over the past four years.
As for the upcoming race there are several ways the community can be of help.
You can join as a team member and run, walk or even sleep-in (in the event that you cannot participate, but would still like to be a team member) for the cure. Registration forms can be picked up from Elli Collins at the FitzPatrick Cancer Centerbut hurry, registration forms must be in by Sept. 19or you can also register online at www.albanyraceforthecure.com . The registration charge of $25 earns you a Race for the Cure T-shirt.
If you prefer to just make a donation rather than join the team, you can also do so by visiting the above mentioned website or by contacting one of the following:
Joyce Ashe (board member) at 563-6698 or Jjashes@aol.com
Janice Opal (chairperson) at 314-1289 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Libby Goller (team captain) at 298-2679 or email@example.com
Elli Collins (Oncology Nurse Specialist) at 562-7148 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Berry (team member) at 562-2095 or email@example.com
Hairdressers and beauty salons are encouraged to help the Treasure Chests with their Komen Race for the Cure fundraising efforts by selling pink ribbons at $1 each the salon that raises the most money will be offered a beautiful gift basket as a prize. Those interested may contact any of the members listed above.
If anyone else has fundraising ideas or suggestions for the future please feel free to share them with a member listed above.