By: Haley Jones, Director of Development and Marketing
October 11, 2023 marked another successful year for the Hope Lives Breast Cancer Awareness event with a few new committee members including a newly appointed Chairperson, Renae Veal. Other committee members are; Brenda Holm, Past Chair; Diane Wyatt; Kylie Lee; Deb Foltz; LouAna Taplin; Julie Bartley, and Jonee Crump.
For many years now, both Hope Lives along with Impact the Cure, have been raising breast cancer awareness every year, and bringing in donations to help fund the Free Mammogram program through Memorial Health System’s Radiology and Imaging Services. Through the program, individuals who reside in Dickinson County and lack adequate insurance are eligible to receive free mammograms. This joint effort brought another change to the Hope Lives event this year. With Past Chairman, Brenda Holm stepping down and handing the reigns over to a new leader, and reaching out to others who may be interested in taking on the task to continue this cause, it made sense that Memorial Health System came on board to help plan and coordinate this fundraiser, and Jonee Crump, Foundation Manager at Memorial Health System, took a seat at the table.
Much like in previous years, the Hope Lives event was packed, bringing women together to support other women for a cause that affects mostly women. That is not to say men cannot get breast cancer, but the numbers are vastly different. In 2023 an estimated 297,790 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S., compared to an estimated 2,800 men, making it the most common cancer in American women (https://www.bcrf.org/breast-cancer-statistics-and-resources). A numerous amount of local businesses also supported the cause by donating a gift to be raffled off throughout the evening. Because I am writing this story from my position with Memorial Health System, you get to hear a little fun fact about Memorial Health System’s donated gift. The winner was my very own mama, Stephanie Leshovsky. How ironic huh?!?!
Being a major player in the Hope Lives event this year, Memorial Health System had a table set up to share information about the Free Mammogram program, the Hope Lives Chairs, a new program that I will provide greater detail on in just a moment, and 350 cookies from Crumbl Cookies…. Because taking care of yourself also means you treat yourself to something sweet sometimes. I along with Sara Boyd, Nurse Manager of the Rose Behavioral Unit at Memorial Health System, had fun running the table and talking to all the women who went through the line.
A fun game was added to the agenda this year called 50/50 Trivia where attendees could buy a true/false paddle for $5.00. The game started with all the women standing. A trivia question was asked and you held the side of your paddle up in the air indicating if you thought the answer was true or false. If you got it wrong, you sat down. One particular question knocked out about 90% of the women right after the game got started, and that question was, “Popeye and Olive Oyl were married, true or false?” Almost every woman answered false, and almost every woman gasped as they sat down! Who knew?!?! Anne Rose, Registered Nurse of Memorial Health System was among the last few standing in the game. Way to represent Anne!
Special Guest Speaker this year was Brooke Woodworth. She moved the room with the retelling of her personal experience with breast cancer. Tears and laughs were shared among the women as she inspired them to be strong, carry on, and take care of themselves; reminding them that one of the ways to do that is to get their mammograms. Brooke mentioned how she wished she would have had a Hope Lives Chair during her recovery, and how much it would have helped her.
The Hope Lives Chairs is a new program that has just started. The chair was available for viewing during the event, and came to sit in the Memorial Hospital lobby for the remainder of October. Renae Veal and Jonee Crump are teaming up to bring this FREE gift to women who will live through the recovery process after having a mastectomy. The chair is designed to provide extra comfort and allows a person to get up and down independently and lay comfortably to sleep. With the support of Hope Lives, three chairs have been purchased and will be available to women with an upcoming surgical procedure. The chair will travel to every woman who needs it along with a journal that will stay with the chair sharing the stories and providing encouragement from women who have sat in the chair before them. A special pillow made by the Memorial Health System Volunteer Corps will also be provided with the chair. More information on the Hope Lives Chairs can be found on the Hope Lives Chairs Facebook page or the Memorial Health System Foundation page.
Hope Lives 2023 closed out the evening with a live auction, with the help of the Auctioneer and Ag Teacher for Abilene High School, Cauy Hayes.
Hope Lives continues to be a success, bringing out the loudest colors of pink, and breaking the previous year’s attendance numbers. One thing is for certain about women when it comes to providing support to one another, they rally!