Billed as "Loving Shabby Chic," The Pink Ribbon Affair was equal parts acknowledgement of the gravity of breast cancer, celebration of people who have recovered from it and support for those currently undergoing treatment.
Held Oct.16 in the Ballroom at the DoubleTree Hotel, the event was awash in pink boas. The shabby chic referred to the items available in the silent auction.
As is always the case at the event, a highlight is the models that put a human face on the disease. One of the great things about the event is the introductions don’t focus on the cancer, but on the lives people love and enjoy.
And while the all-volunteer Women’s Health Coalition of Southwest Colorado organizes The Pink Ribbon Affair, its goal is to help anyone, male or female, with support, education and financial assistance for some of the daily expenses folks still have to pay even when fighting a major illness. Two of the models this year brought a little leavening testosterone to the evening.
They were Barney Anderson and Jim Duresky, both of whom recently have battled prostate cancer.
Anderson, a retired economics professor from Fort Lewis College, underwent surgery in 2004 for his cancer. After his retirement, he and his wife, Phyllis, worked as traveling educators with Up with People. That experience led to his involvement in creating World Campus International, which allows people of all ages to learn about Japan. While Anderson is undergoing a second round of radiation through the first week in November, he’s still planning on his annual winter in Mexico.
Duresky, who owns the Farmers’ Insurance Agency in Durango, only let his cancer surgery briefly interrupt his passions of running, flying his Cessna 182 and backpacking.
The female models aptly demonstrated breast cancer can strike at any age, no matter the family history.
Dr. Jesse Hutt, who specializes in pediatric hematology and oncology, had a family background of breast cancer and took all the recommended precautions, but it occurred anyway. Four years after her diagnosis and treatment, she is volunteering at the new Animas High School and Congregation Har Shalom – or riding mountain bikes on our trails.
Marty Monn is retired from teaching at Florida Mesa Elementary School. An escapee from Minnesota, Monn loves the outdoor activities that make this such a great place to live. While mammograms are important, Monn credits nurse practitioner Deb Meyer with discovering her cancer during a clinical breast exam.
From Oklahoma to Durango was a welcome relief to Petie Jenkins, who was in shock after receiving her diagnosis. A college professor at FLC, she teaches health promotion and practices what she preaches. Horses are her love, and she was a saloon girl at the antique car rally and the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. If you ever see the Bayfield Belles in a parade, look for Jenkins’ smiling face in the group.
While Abbey Flint isn’t currently working as a teacher, she’s still a frequent sight in the halls at Animas Elementary School, where her two "live-wire" sons study. In addition to all the activities that her sons are involved in, she coordinates the local Mothers of Preschoolers group. Flint was diagnosed in January 2007 with Stage 2 breast cancer when she was only 32.
Obstetrics/gynecologist Dr. Lee Ann Jordan is in her second go-round with breast cancer, but that hasn’t stopped her from working with her practice and directing the Touch-Love and Compassion Program at Mercy Regional Medical Center. She spends a lot of time with her two children, a daughter who is a Durango High School senior and National Merit scholar, and avid soccer-playing son, who is in the ninth grade.
A Newcastle hamburger is enticing Mary Lynn Hastings when she goes back to visit her family in Illinois in a week or two. A private server on the Parlor Car at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Hastings also works at Norton’s Catering and Durango Mountain Resort. She showed her chemotherapy nurses a move or two she had learned from being a life-long fan of the Chicago Bears.
Clothes on the models represented the lifestyles that are so diverse in our community, including outfits from Pineneedle Mountaineering, Christopher and Banks, Giddyup 409, Silk Sparrow, J.C. Penney Co. and Backcountry Experience.
The keynote speaker at The Pink Ribbon Affair was Polly Letofsky, who hiked the world for breast-cancer awareness and found that as much work as there still is to be done in the U.S. and Europe, it’s even worse in countries where women’s medical issues are taboo for discussion.
By the end of the evening, the 240 attendees helped raise about $8,000 for its emergency fund, which is available to women and men in reproductive cancer treatment in our area.
Happy Scorpio birthday wishes go out to Chandler Jackson, Jeremy Barker, Elizabeth Carter, Sarah Larsen, Andrew Griffith, Peggy Glasco, Mick Michelli, Samantha Szura, David Engle, Scott Sallee, Trish Sohlé, Michael Marquez, Andy Peterson, Sherie Croft, Ron Knowles, Marie Davidson, Maryanna Harvey, Scott Holland, Tom Murray and Mary Jean "MJ" Moseley.
The Reading Club of Durango has started its second year on its Asia theme in style.
On Sept. 17, members met at the Electra Lake home of Nancy Furry for a potluck and social time. Although it was a rainy, foggy day, the mood inside was warm.
At the first meeting of the year, Oct. 8, it was off to the home of Deborah Barnes, where she and co-hostess Kathy Parcell served up a host of goodies after attendees discussed the book of the year, River Town by Peter Hessler.
A memoir of his two years in the Peace Corps in a town called Fuling, which is located on the Yangtze River, River Town presents culture shock, concern about what the Three Gorges Dam will do to millennia-old towns and cities along the river and a refreshing look at classic American and English literature.
Hessler, who now lives in Beijing as a freelance writer, arrived in Fuling after graduating from Princeton University and Oxford. He found it refreshing that his students didn’t deconstruct literature or make assumptions about the author’s intentions. They didn’t like Hamlet (not the play, the character), so they said so. They did tend to see the literature through the eyes of a generation who had been brought up under communism and post-Tiananmen Square.
Illnesses, the one-child policy and working with students who all came from peasant backgrounds and many of whom were destined to be schoolteachers in remote rural villages all came with lessons and thoughtfulness.
If you’re a reader of The New Yorker, you may have read stories by Hessler, who is a frequent contributor. I am now looking forward to reading Oracle Bones, his second book.
All members reading the same book is a relatively new concept for the club, which is in its 127th year, but it’s a good way to set up the year.
On Thursday, at the home of Beverly Darmour, new member Maile Kane gave the first program of 2009-2010 about the remote Himalayan nation of Bhutan. An agricultural nation whose main export is hydroelectricity, Bhutan was founded in 1949 when it separated from India after India gained its freedom from Great Britain.
Kane visited Bhutan about this time last year, where she encountered a nation that, if compared to neighbor China, is slow cooking to its McDonald’s frenzy. The bulk of the 650,000 citizens are devout Buddhists, in an offshoot of the religion founded by Lama Drukpa Kunley, "The Divine Madman," in the 16th century.
Much of the culture comes from his tradition. He believed the sex act was the centerpiece of the sacred, and thus male members adorn buildings throughout the country, but not in a pornographic sense, Kane said. His favorite sport was archery, so it is now the national sport, the only one Bhutan enters in the Olympics.
Because Bhutan wants to protect its culture and does not want to become another Nepal, full of backpackers, tourists are required to spend at least $250 a day and have a set agenda. Kane wasn’t too sure about that regulation before going there, but says that now that she has seen it, it is a culture that deserves to be cherished.
Among the Reading Club of Durango’s traditions is the sharing of words and books. At the meeting Oct. 22, which was held at the home of Beverly Darmour, Diane Skinner introduced the word "farrago," meaning mixture or medley. She encountered it in an advice column where one sister was demanding that the other get rid of her cat or she wouldn’t visit anymore. The sister had volunteered to board her cat during the visit and have the house professionally cleaned, but the California sister wanted the sister in England to get rid of that feline. The response the adviser gave was that the cat represented a farrago of other issues in the siblings’ relationship.
Other words included a contribution from Ann Willard, "lacustrine" from the Fort Lewis College/Durango Public Library Common Reading Experience The Beast in the Garden. It means pertaining to a lake or living on the edge of the lake. And Maile Kane had the best new word, a description of those of us (and yes, I plead guilty) who can’t stop ourselves from checking out what others are reading. It’s "biblioscoping," although I’m not sure that "bibliosnooping" wouldn’t be more apropos.
If you’re looking for some good reading, some of the books recommended by club members were Columbine by David Cullum; The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout; Born to Rebel by Frank Sulloway (about birth order); The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick (about a Dutch forger who fooled the Nazis during World War II); Molokai by Alan Bennett; Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus; The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson; and The New York Regional Mormon Halloween Singles Dance: A Memoir by Elna Baker.
Happy reading! (Well, maybe not so much about the shooting at Columbine High School or the Sociopath Next Door – in that case, the wish is for interesting reading.)
Fall, winter, fall, winter, no matter what season the weather is delivering, these couples are guaranteed a warm anniversary this week – Everett and Phyllis Hoyt, John and Sandy Seibert, Larry and Sherri Gaugh, Lee and Sandy Campbell and Creighton and BJo Hatten.
For information on upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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