On September 22, the Breast Cancer Resource Center held its annual bash at the Coral Casino to raise funds for the essential support services and educational programs it provides. A sold-out crowd of 270 supporters turned out for Le Cirque, an amusing, adult circus-themed event.
Perfectly warm, sunny weather made mingling on La Pacifica Ballroom Terrace at the ocean’s edge especially sweet. Dancers from Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance were suspended high above the terrace on a trapeze and lyra, entertaining the guests with whimsical moves. A duet of elegantly clad stilt walkers and a dancer perched atop a large orange globe roamed among the guests.
Guests, many in tuxes and gowns, adjourned to the ballroom for dinner, where Executive Director Silvana Kelly welcomed them to BCRC’s 20th-anniversary celebration. Kelly explained that the BCRC is “an independent, nonclinical support service organization. We are not doctors, but we serve as the place where a person can turn to for answers to the practical and emotional challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis.” She shared how “we nurture hope, and empower a sisterhood of women to make informed decisions, move forward, survive, and thrive with a sense of well-being despite the diagnosis of cancer.”
BCRC client Raven Skye shared with guests her gratitude for the BCRC, explaining the huge difference that reiki, aromatherapy and other services made in her struggle dealing with breast cancer and how tremendously valuable a support group was for her. The evening shifted to a lighter note with the service of a delectable, gourmet three-course meal and dancing well into the night.
Founded in 1997, the BCRC offers guidance through the continuum of care, helping clients obtain pertinent information and resources. Emotional support and counseling are provided through one-on-one sessions and support groups with counselors as well as through the Buddy Program. Integrative therapy services such as guided meditation, reflexology, lymphatic massage, and reiki are all popular.
The BCRC also assists low-income women obtain mammogram screenings and covers the costs. Last year, more than 100 women received this service. A wide range of educational programs are offered to the general community, both on overall health and on breast health and screening programs.
Last year, the BCRC provided support services to 282 women through 1,330 visits and provided educational programming to thousands more. The BCRC receives no government funding. It operates on a lean budget, with just four staff members.
The BCRC is hosting a free community Health and Wellness Resource Fair on Thursday, October 12, 5-8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church (21 Constance Ave.). The focus is on both promoting health and wellness and increasing awareness about cancer support resources. The BCRC has one other major fundraising event, its Holiday Tea & Fashion Show at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore on December 3. BCRC clients model fashions while a narrator shares their stories — a very special event.
For more info on the Breast Cancer Resource Center, go to bcrcsb.org.
By Gail Arnold