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Fundraiser benefits breast cancer patients

September 11, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

WILLIAMSPORT -- What happens when it seems fate has played a cruel joke?

What do you do when you hear the words, "You have breast cancer?"

You survive, said Joyce Elliott, who was diagnosed with the disease in January 2008.

Breast cancer was not an end, she said. It was the beginning of a fight she knew she would win.

"At first, there was disbelief," Elliott said. "But I was absolutely sure that I would beat this. I had a positive attitude that I would get through the entire journey -- from diagnosis to treatment."

And helping her along that journey was Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley Inc. (BCA-CV)

"They made sure I had all the help and information I needed," Elliott said.

Elliott, a Greencastle, Pa., resident who serves on the BCA-CV board, shared her story Friday night at "Reaching for the Moon," a fundraiser for the local organization.

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The event was at Milestone Farm and was hosted by Donald and Jone Bowman.

About 350 people were expected to be in attendance, said Doris Glessner, who co-chaired the fundraiser with James G. Pierne.

Glessner said this was the ninth year for "Reaching for the Moon" and the seventh year the event was at Milestone Farm. It is one of the biggest fundraisers for Breast Cancer Awareness.

"We don't work for the cure," Glessner said. "We work for those who can't wait for the cure."

The event included a buffet, silent auction, celebrity servers and music.

Organizers hoped to raise $45,000 from the event.

Joan Fell, executive director of BCA-CV, said the organization was appreciative of the community's support.

The money raised from Friday's event will benefit the many free programs offered by BCA-CV, she said, including support groups, a wig and prosthesis bank, and free mammograms.

It also will be a boost to BCA-CV's special-needs program, which now is in its second year.

"The program helps individuals who are in treatment for breast cancer with basic living expenses," Fell said. "If a person can't work, we help with such things as fuel bills. It's one less thing they have to worry about."

Fell said the demand for BCA-CV's services is up 250 percent this year.

"Tonight's event is very important to us," she said.

Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, Fell said. Every 12 minutes, a woman dies from the disease.

"While this event is going on, it's something to think about," she said.

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