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Love for each other, mad at cancer
With more than 25 cancer survivors in attendance, the 15th annual event gathered cancer support groups and leaders like Jazwic, friends, hiking groups and golfing buddies at Sunland Golf & Country Club to continue a community of support.
“It's not primarily a fundraiser, but about celebrating survivors, honoring women living with cancer and educating women about early detection,” said mistress of ceremonies Jan Kummet.
The event started as a small gathering of friends to support Jan Chatfield following her cancer treatment in 1998 and has grown dramatically to raise tens of thousands of dollars for cancer charities and programs.
“It refreshes people's awareness,” said Christie Wilson, a member of OMC's Women Inspiring Nurturing Giving Support group. “It's great camaraderie for me and it inspires survival."
Jazwic, WINGS' facilitator, spoke about shifting from fear to love while building courage.
“Living with cancer is one of the hardest journeys we experience,” she said. “Sometimes the greatest gift is just being.”
She encouraged people to support those afflicted with cancer's medical decisions and ask how to help them.
Registered nurse Sky Heatherton with Assured Hospice also spoke about her personal journey through treatment.
“I never dreamed it would have happened to me,” she said.
The event marked nearly two years since she underwent a double mastectomy.
“I've been an RN for 35 years and when I was diagnosed I thought I knew everything to say but when it came to me, I was a frightened inner child,” she said.
Heatherton shared a story about reaching her breaking point with a woman offering her half-hearted condolences. At the end of the conversation, Heatherton lifted up her shirt, showing her surgery scars and saying, “I paid my price.”
Her most recent effort is an art show for those afflicted and/or impacted by cancer called "Embracing Life Through Art … the Journey Back” at the Landing Gallery in Port Angeles.
Kummet ended the event by presenting $2,000 each to OMC Cancer Center's Navigator program to help those receiving treatment funds for transportation and to Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest's free mammogram that operates in each city in Clallam County and travels to Clallam Bay.