Joanne’s Jewels walk for breast cancer awareness

By Sharon Rhodes
For The Essex Reporter


Suzanne Shasteen, Claire Browne Draper, Subha Luck and Janette Roberts, members of Joanne’s Jewels, at last years Making Strides walk.  PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Suzanne Shasteen, Claire Browne Draper, Subha Luck and Janette Roberts, members of Joanne’s Jewels, at last years Making Strides walk.

Five years ago, Joanne Bemis’s bout with breast cancer sent her to the Respite House. She was in so much pain that doctors induced a coma. Her situation led to the creation of Joanne’s Jewels, an Essex team participating in the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Led by Suzanne Shasteen, Bemis’s closest friends came together to fight against the disease.

The members of Joanne’s Jewels include Suzanne Shasteen, Claire Brown Draper, Subha Luck, Janette Roberts and Ann Browne. Bemis was unable to participate in the team’s first walk and, unfortunately, lost her battle with cancer. Shasteen said, “The Strides walk has great significance to my team because the day of our first walk was the last time any of us spoke to Joanne. The team has continued to honor the tradition and it has more meaning than ever before.”

This year Joanne’s Jewels will walk in their sixth Making Strides event. “The first few years of the walk we all walked in tears and silence. Since then we have become more hopeful that others will be spared the pain and suffering that our friend endured like a trooper,” Shasteen said. Members of Joanne’s Jewels walk for two reasons: to remember their beloved friend and hope. Shasteen said, “We hope that raising funds will help those facing the disease and ultimately lead to a cure for breast cancer.”

The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk will be held Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. in Dorset Park, South Burlington. The 5-mile course (with a 1-mile option) brings people together to celebrate survivors and to show determination in ending this disease. Donations are welcome and go toward funding education for early detection, support for those undergoing treatments and research for a cure.

For more information visit http://makingstrides.acsevents.org



Colchester residents garner National Dragonboat Championships

Dragonheart Vermont club teams, with numerous Colchester residents, attended the National Dragonboat Championships held in Mercer Park, N.J. on Sept. 14-15.  Four out of six teams entered in various divisions came away from the weekend with gold medals for combined racing events including 200M, 500M, 1K and 2K races.  Having won at the national level gives the four teams an automatic bid to race in the World Club Crew Championships being held in Ravenna, Italy on Sept. 3-6 in 2014.

The club will be doing various fundraising events including selling their very popular Solmate Socks. Anyone who wishes to donate directly to the club may do so by sending a check to Dragonheart Vermont and note Ravenna, Italy. And, send P.O. Box 65301, Burlington, VT 05406.  Dragonheart Vermont  is a non-profit that benefits breast cancer research; they have donated over $1.2 million dollars over the past seven years from their proceeds raised at their annual Lake Champlain Dragonboat Festival held each first weekend in August at the Burlington Waterfront park.

Colchester residents, pictured, who participated in the championship races in Mercer Park, N.J. on Sept. 14-15 are: Front row from left to right: Jim Cross, Karen Meyers and Laura Cummings,  Second row from left to right: Laurie O’Hanlon, Penni Cross and Susan Parker,  Back row from left to right: Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mary Merges.  PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Colchester residents, pictured, who participated in the championship races in Mercer Park, N.J. on Sept. 14-15 are:
Front row from left to right: Jim Cross, Karen Meyers and Laura Cummings,
Second row from left to right: Laurie O’Hanlon, Penni Cross and Susan Parker,
Back row from left to right: Mary Ellen O’Brien and Mary Merges.


What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer sometime during her life is a little less than one in eight. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about one in 36. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

For more information about breast cancer, how to find it early and how to join the fight to end the disease visit cancer.org/fightbreastcancer or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 anytime, day or night.

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things all women can do that might reduce their risk and help increase the odds that, if cancer does occur, it will be found at an early, more treatable stage.

ribbonLowering your risk:

You can lower your risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy body weight, doing physical activity and eating well.

Women who choose to breastfeed for at least several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk.

Finding breast cancer early:

Other than lifestyle changes, the most important action a woman can take is to follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection. Early detection will not prevent breast cancer, but it can help find it when the likelihood of successful treatment is greatest.



American Cancer Society recommendations for early Breast Cancer detection

The ACS recommends the following guidelines for finding breast cancer early in women without symptoms:

  • Mammogram: Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. While mammograms can miss some cancers, they are still a very good way to find breast cancer.
  • Clinical breast exam: Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert, preferably every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year. You can use the exam to learn what your own breasts look and feel like. It might be a good idea to have the CBE shortly before the mammogram.
  • Breast self-exam (BSE): BSE is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to a doctor or nurse right away.

If you decide to do BSE, you should have your doctor or nurse check your method to make sure you are doing it right. If you do BSE on a regular basis, you get to know how your breasts normally look and feel. Then you can more easily notice changes. It’s okay not to do BSE or not do it on a fixed schedule.

The most important thing is to see a doctor right away if you notice any of these changes in your breasts:

  1. A lump or swelling
  2. Skin irritation or dimpling
  3. Nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
  4. Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
  5. A discharge other than breast milk

But remember that most of the time these breast changes are not cancer.

Women at high risk:

Talk to a doctor about your breast cancer risk and the best screening plan for you. If you are at a higher risk for breast cancer, you might start getting mammograms when you’re younger, get extra screening tests with your mammograms, or get more frequent exams. There are charts called risk assessment tools. A doctor can use these tools to figure out if you are at high risk.

For more details on the early detection of breast cancer and breast cancer risk, see Breast Cancer: Early Detection.

To find information about other cancers that you may be able to prevent and/or find early, see the “Early Detection of Specific Cancers” section.


Breast Cancer Awareness

Fundraisers and Events

October 1

Event: Dining for a Cause

Location: Texas Roadhouse, Taft Corners, Williston

Time: 4-9 p.m.

Details: Do you like a good steak dinner? Ten percent of your food bill will be donated to Making Strides.

October 5

Event: Pink Party Ride

Location: Green Mountain Harley-Davidson, 157 Pearl Street, Essex Junction

Time: 11 a.m. Group Ride

Details: Ride a motorcycle? Come and enjoy a great Fall group ride starting at Green Mountain Harley-Davidson.

October 6

Event: BBQ

Location: Shed, Shelburne

Time: 2-6 p.m.

Details: Like to play horseshoes at a BBQ? Well then come and join us for a horseshoe tournament and some good food while supporting Strides.

October 7

Event: Pizza for Strides

Location: New York Pizza Oven, Colchester

Details: Portions of each check will be donated to Strides.


October 8

Event: Alex & Ani donate proceeds

Location: Alex & Ani, 207 College Street, Burlington

Details: Twenty percent of all proceeds of purchased at Alex and Ani’s on Oct. 8 from 6-8 p.m. will be donated to the Making Strides Walk.

October 12

Event: Bake Sale

Location: Essex Cinemas, Essex

Time: 2-6 p.m.

Details: Come and enjoy a matinee movie and get some tasty goodies to eat during the movie.

October 12

Event: 5k Run/Walk

Location: Bayside Park, Colchester

Start Time: 9 a.m.

Details: Come and join the First Annual “Pink Out The Park” 5k/Walk by Lake Champlain and help support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Lots of fun activities.

October 20

Event: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Location: Dorset Park, South Burlington

Start time: 1 p.m.



Flower Power

Wings of Courage is having an online Flower Power fall bulb fundraiser. Fifty percent of the sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Help us in the fight against cancer and enjoy some beautiful flowers at the same time. Ships direct to you, so order anytime and from anywhere in the months of September and October. www.flowerpowerfundraising.com


Tastefully Simple

Wings of Courage is having an Online Tastefully Simple Party to raise money for Strides. Sale runs through Oct. 16. Items ship direct to you, so you can order from anywhere. www.tastefullysimple.com


Yankee Candle Fundraiser

Jennifer Magnant of Jolley Cups is having a Yankee Candle Fundraiser now until the walk. www.yankeecandlefundraising.com