Joyce M. Johnson
The breast cancer community continued its outreach Saturday evening with the Dragon Dream Team’s 5th Annual Breast Friends Gala at the Venue in Tallmadge. Proceeds benefit the activities of the Dragon Dream Team including their Boatloads of Hope, an educational program that promotes awareness of the disease.
The gala was attended by 240 people and included dinner, cocktails, silent and live auctions, and dessert dash. Co-chairs were Pat Donnelly and Pat Testa.
“It is frightening to you, your family and friends when you hear the words that you have cancer. This group has provided me with wonderful friendships and support as well as hope that there is life after cancer,” Donnelly said.
Lee Runkle said, “I get fitness and support from this group.”
Erica Whitmer said, “I’ve been part of this team since 2007.”
Each table had the chance to bid on a dessert and then make a mad dash for the one that they wanted the most by a chosen runner from each table.
Volunteers for the benefit included; Lynn Fritz, Erica Whitmer, Dawn Wagner, Sandie Fugitt, Marilyn Purdy, Amy Thomason, Holly Ross, Juanita Chapman, Susan Balmert, Tommy Cheuy, Barb Fox, Sarah McClain, Susan Colville-Hall, Denise Garcia, Gina Fortunato, Sharon Shriber, Laura Beringer, Susie Corrigan, Peggy Woodruff, Joanne Johnston, and Linda Latham.
Dr. Gary Williams has worked with breast cancer patients for more than 38 years at Summa Akron City Hospital. “This group gives them a chance to know that they are not alone,” Williams said.
Angel Kouzelos is currently going through radiation. “I’m just excited to be around so many wonderful women who have been through this, too,” she said.
Survivor Marcia Cole added, “We are strong and we are fighters.”
Denise McCamish attended with her husband Greg McCamish. “I finished chemo two years ago and I have new friends who stand by me,” she said.
Pam Friend, who was diagnosed three years ago with cancer, said, “This is a real sisterhood and they won’t let us give up.”