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East County Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 8 years ago

Cancer survivors share their messages of hope

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Fortunately for Beth Barnett, she agreed with her surgeon: No lump is a good lump.

Barnett was adamant something wasn’t right, even though the bump she felt in her right breast did not show up in multiple mammograms or even a biopsy. After she awoke from the surgery to remove it, she learned it indeed was breast cancer.

When a second lumpectomy showed the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes, Barnett was forced to get a mastectomy.

“I just prayed and asked the Lord to save me,” Barnett said. “I had so much to live for.”

Her husband, Randy, became his wife’s biggest advocate, Beth Barnett said.

“My husband, when he sees my scar, he sees it as life and hope,” she added, holding back tears.

Breast cancer survivors, their families and friends will celebrate life during the first Breast Cancer Gala: A Night of Pink and White from 6:30-11:30 p.m., Oct. 24, in the Fête Ballroom of the Polo Grill and Bar on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

“It’s going to be an inspirational night — one not to be missed,” event co-organizer Debbie Plotts said. “It’s better than a Cinderella ball. You’ll really be touched.”

The evening’s activities include an a sit-down dinner, an open bar, live music by Jonathan Cortez, inspirational speakers, raffles and a live auction. Four local survivors also will receive special recognition.

Tickets cost $200 per person, and organizers are still accepting sponsorships. Individuals who cannot attend the dinner but would like to participate can purchase a ticket and donate it to a current breast cancer patient, Plotts said.

The event is the brainchild of event co-chair and lead sponsor Lupe Garcia, who was misdiagnosed with cancer in 2004.

“She wanted to do something,” Plotts said, noting fundraisers for breast cancer research are common. “Nothing is ever done to celebrate what the research does — create survivors. These ladies (who have survived) are so inspirational in what they’ve gone through. We want other women to be empowered.”

Holding true to Garcia’s vision, organizers are hoping to raise at least $150,000 at the first-year event through sponsorships and by auctioning items such as a five-day stay at a luxury four-bedroom, four-bathroom condominium in Colorado and seven days at a private home in the Bahamas.

Raffle items include a Louis Vuitton bag, spa package, a custom-made golf cart and a special $2,500 dinner and demo cocktail party package from the Polo Grill, Plotts said.

Valet parking will be available.

All proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society. About 200 tickets already have sold.
For more information about the event, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, visit

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Breast Cancer Survivor Gala
WHEN: 6:30-11:30 p.m., Oct. 24
WHERE: Fête Ballroom at Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop
COST: $200 per person
BENEFICIARY: American Cancer Society

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