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Cancer survivors get pampered at annual event

March 04, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

One month after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Kay Bergstrom of Hagerstown found a perfect place to talk to other women who shared her affliction: At an annual event at the Sagittarius Hair Skin & Nails at the Venice Inn.

She was one of about 90 people at a "Life is a gift - day of beauty - hairdressers target breast cancer" event organized by Sagittarius owner Marsha Knicely as a memorial to her late mother, E. Rosemary Finney, who had breast cancer for 20 years. It was the biggest turnout for the 4-year-old event, she said. Last year the event drew 75 people, she said.

Women of all ages with breast cancer came to the salon Sunday for free haircuts, manicures, makeovers and massages. The salon employees all volunteered their time from noon to 4 p.m. There were also gifts and food.

"It is a wonderful thing for Marsha to do," Bergstrom said.

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Bergstrom enjoyed the perks but was more excited about talking to other women with breast cancer, she said.

"It just feels good to be with ladies who have gone through what I'm going through," Bergstrom said. It is also "wonderful" to ask others what she should expect.

She plans to return to the event next year.

Talking each year with other cancer survivors is also quite important and meaningful to Maureen Sasse, who also has breast cancer.

"It is a day of seeing all your friends you have met as you have gone through this," Sasse said. "It is a boost to the spirit and a sign of camaraderie of women who have shared a terrible experience - the love that is expressed is between friends."

They share their stories and talk about experiences, she said. They also give suggestions on which doctors to see and which to avoid, she said.

The donated food and other perks are also "fabulous," she said.

She first heard about the event three years ago and while she was quite sick from chemotherapy, she really wanted to go because it sounded so great and exciting, she said. However, she ultimately was unable to attend.

She came two years ago and loved it and plans to continue coming each year, she said.

Knicely said some women with breast cancer don't get a chance to talk to others who have it, but this event provides them with the chance.

It also serves as a reminder that they are not alone in their struggles, she said.

Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley, a breast cancer support organization, helps the event by supplying the names of members.

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