Women gather to give cancer patients hope

By Jaime Winston

Lindsey Park struggled to find the right words to put on a greeting card for a female cancer patient as she remembered her uncle and co-worker’s battles with the disease. Park, a former U nursing student, joined approximately 100 women who volunteered to create wellness bags for females battling cancer at the Huntsman Cancer Institute on May 8.
“We are here for the cancer patients,” she said. “They struggle with hope and trying to be strong for their families as well as the process of trying to get rid of it.”
The idea was a collaborative effort between South Towne Center and Step Up Women’s Network, an organization dedicated to empowering women.
More than a dozen sponsors donated items for the 300 bags, which were distributed on Mother’s Day and included makeup and gift certificates for cancer patients.
It was an emotional experience for many of the volunteers, some of whom had people in their lives fight the disease, it was an emotional experience.
“It not only affects the individual, but the whole family, the whole circle of that person as soon as they are diagnosed,” said Brooke Hathaway, development officer at Huntsman Cancer Foundation. “These bags will provide a little bit of solace in their awful situation.”
For Hathaway, the project affects her personally because a close friend of hers was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is going through chemotherapy.
“Anything that we can do to ease the suffering of a cancer patient is well worth the time,” she said.
Natalie Watson, senior marketing manager for South Towne Center and event organizer, said she lost a close friend to cancer about five years ago and now one of her neighbors has the disease.
“It takes an emotional toll not only on them physically, but family and friends,” she said. “I’m just so moved by the women who take it on and have the best spirit possible.”
Students from the Visual Art Institute, an art school in Utah, created a mural using makeup to symbolize the courage of the cancer patients. The paining will also be donated to the Institute.
“We just wanted to make a picture that had women that were happy and joyful,” said Laura Paustenbauth, community relations coordinator for the school.
Volunteer Emily Zagarella said she wanted to help out because of the struggle her mother and aunt went through fighting the disease. “Sometimes they feel like cancer is just a death sentence and we have to look at it differently,-there is help,” she said.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in three women in the United States will have cancer in their lifetime, as well as one in two men. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for men and women.
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Anna Kartashova

Pat Adair fills a Wellness Bag with items donated by about 12 businesses for the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s female patients at the South Towne Center last Thursday.