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Angels bare it for breast cancer
These angels may be sweetly set on helping others, but they bared their saucy sides for a fundraising calendar. One of the stars is local resident Terri Eggers, who revealed her support of breast cancer victims as sporty Ms. March.
Wearing nothing but white angel wings and a pair of tastefully placed pink scuba diving flippers, Eggers posed in a studio with a backdrop of Keystone. As an outdoorsy person, Eggers said she suggested the scuba diving theme when Angel Care Breast Cancer Foundation asked for volunteers for the calendar.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking but it’s out there now,” Eggers said with a laugh.
With only a blanket, a heart-shaped candy box, American flags or the coverage of a park bench as attire, the women -- and one man -- who survived breast cancer wear angel wings, symbolic of Angel Care, and tell their stories in the calendar to raise funds for Angel Care, a nonprofit organization in Washington and Idaho that offers support to those going through breast cancer. All Angel Care volunteers are breast cancer survivors.
The 2012 calendar came out just before October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Eggers is the Whidbey Island volunteer for Angel Care. People can go to her for guidance, from learning what questions to ask a doctor to finding helpful reading material or cosmetic help.
“A lot of times it’s over the phone answering questions or I’ll go with them to doctor appointments. It depends on what the person wants,” Eggers said.
Eggers said that some people who call her are reluctant at first.
“Some people call and don’t even realize what a benefit it is to talk to someone who’s been through it,” Eggers said.
Angel Care provides emotional support through a life-changing time. Volunteers work to alleviate the fears of the newly diagnosed and those struggling for survival.
“When you see someone’s gone through it and survived, it’s empowering. Breast cancer is a very scary process but I found that the survivors are an amazing group of people,” Eggers said.
Eggers overcame breast cancer four years ago, after six months of chemotherapy and bilateral mastectomy. She hadn’t heard of Angel Care until her treatments were nearly concluded.
“I thought it was a great idea,” Eggers said. She had support from two friends who’d undergone mastectomies but neither had gone through chemotherapy so she said it would have been nice to talk to Angel Care volunteers about chemotherapy.
Angel Care was founded in 1997 by Jan Harris, who found little support after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose to change that by creating an organization of survivors to help the newly diagnosed.
Angel Care is especially important in the Puget Sound area because it has one of the highest breast cancer rates in the nation, according to the Angel Care web site.
Eggers avidly supports people becoming aware of their bodies so they can get checked if they notice any changes.
“Growing up, I thought breast cancer was an old lady’s disease,” Eggers said. She was 45 when diagnosed.
“Early detection is a huge issue. If detected early enough, breast cancer is a very treatable disease,” Eggers said. If it’s not detected early, it can be treated but often will recur, Eggers said.
Younger women need to get checked and men, too, Eggers said. As living proof that breast cancer also occurs in men, Mr. November became a volunteer for Angel Care in 2007 after surviving breast cancer. A retired pilot, he wears a pair of wings beside an airplane in the calendar.
Alongside the emotional healing Angel Care volunteers supply, daily smiles from a calendar of survivor angels wreathed in feathers or cuddling stuffed animals can’t hurt.
“We’re available, we’re out there, we just want to support breast cancer patients any way we can,” Eggers said.
To contact Angel Care, call 206-417-3484 or visit www.angelcarefoundation.org. To buy the calendar, visit www.angelcarefoundation.org/calendar.htm.