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Archive for Sunday, May 3, 1998

BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS HONORED AT TEA

May 3, 1998

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The Betsy Beisecker Memorial Tea remembers breast cancer victims and encourages better breast health education

Some had lived with breast cancer for only a few weeks. Others had lived with it for decades.

Breast cancer survivors were honored at the Betsy Beisecker Memorial Tea on Saturday. The tea drew 140 guests, 35 of whom were breast cancer survivors.

``We have women here who were diagnosed three weeks ago, and women who were diagnosed in the '50s and '60s,'' said Christina Selk, Breast Cancer Action's program director.

At round tables covered in pastel tablecloths, women chatted about their families, friends and cancer as a flute played in the background. Gossip was interspersed with descriptions of treatment.

Some of the women were still dealing with the cancer.

Gerre King, McLouth, said she had just had surgery recently for breast cancer and was going through chemotherapy. She said the treatment hadn't been too hard on her yet. She said she feels nauseous from time to time.

``The second night afterward, I made meatloaf,'' she said. ``I thought to myself `This is the worst meatloaf you ever made.''' But it wasn't, she said, it was just her stomach.

``In other words,'' Oona Woodhead, also from McLouth, said, ``after you have treatment, eat things you don't like.''

King said waiting for her biopsy results was hard, not knowing what was happening or what to expect.

``Whether it's two days or two weeks, it's too long,'' Woodhead said.

Guests, wearing pink ribbons, ate finger foods and bite-sized desserts. Servers from the Kansas University Panhellenic Assn. poured coffee, tea and pink lemonade.

Breast Cancer Action Inc., a local coalition of health care professionals and breast cancer survivors, put on the event. The group is dedicated to breast cancer education, breast health awareness and breast cancer screenings. Through a Kansas Breast and Cervical Cancer Initiative grant, it provides free screenings and outreach programs in northeast Kansas.

Selk told the crowd that many women don't do breast self-exams, many women in their 40s don't get a baseline mammogram, and many women in the 50s aren't getting regular mammograms.

``What we wanted to do was target those women,'' she said.

The tea was held in the memory of Analee ``Betsy'' Beisecker, a professor of preventive medicine at Kansas University. She was a breast cancer patient.

Beisecker died in the fall. She was 54.

``Betsy valiantly fought her breast cancer, never letting it get in her way,'' Penny Reese told the group.

The tea raised $2,000 for breast health education and free screenings.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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