‘Luncheon of Hope’ draws sold-out crowd

Local women clearly showed their support for breast cancer awareness as more than 200 attended the biennial “Luncheon of Hope” on Saturday at La Place Rendez-Vous.
“It’s great to see women off all ages here today,” said co-organizer Karen Egan of the Rainy River District Breast Health Network.
“Breast cancer is not choosey, and we’re trying promote breast health for everyone,” she added. “Hopefully, if we see even five people out there go out and get a mammogram, we’ve succeeded.”
This year’s guest speaker was Linda Buchan of Thunder Bay.
“Cancer is no longer a death sentence. You have to get on with your life,” stressed the three-time breast cancer survivor in summing up what her speech was about.
“Enjoy life. It’s a huge message a lot of people don’t get. Stop and smell the roses,” added Buchan, who has been cancer-free now for seven years.
Having spoken at many functions over the years, Buchan couldn’t stress enough the importance of the “Luncheon of Hope” as an opportunity for communication.
“[Breast cancer] is not an easy thing for a lot of women to talk about. But if I can help out anyone, whether its a cancer patient or one’s family members dealing with [breast cancer], it’s worth it.
“It’s a support thing,” she remarked.
“It’s a very good thing to educate people before it’s too late,” agreed Sue Jones, who was attending the luncheon for her second time.
“So it’s important to support this. And it’s also fun to come to,” she added.
“It’s about being cautious, knowing how we can do the right things to prevent breast cancer,” echoed Joanne Bliss, a first-time attendee who was sitting at a table of her fellow Royal Bank employees.
Bliss noted many of the women at the luncheon had been touched by cancer in one way or another. “I’ve had a brother that passed away from lymphoma,” she said.
“Well, I had a good friend with breast cancer,” Marge Sveinson said as she perused through some brochures.
“I came because I was invited by a friend who was a survivor,” noted Darya Fedorchuk. “And it’s a good time.”
Besides the guest speaker and, of course, lunch, many of the women chatted about their experiences with breast cancer while looking at brochures on detecting breast cancer, mammogram x-rays, and pamphlets on how to deal with such possible consequences of treatments, including mastectomies.
The luncheon also featured dozens of door prizes donated by local businesses and individuals, as well as a quilt raffle which raised $2,000 for the breast health network.
The quilt was donated the local Sew n’ Sews Quilt Club.