Last week, we caught many “fireflies” taking effective action to ensure that women diagnosed with breast cancer in the Twin Cities metro area do not have to go through this disease alone: they attended and/or supported Illuminight, our signature Firefly fundraising event (See photos of the event HERE).
The result? We are speechless and awed by the generosity of so many.
Awed by the incredibly talented team of female chefs and restrauteurs who shared buzz-worthy creations with out guests:
- Erica Strait, Owner and Chef of Foxy Falafel
- Tracy Figueroa, Chef and Instructor at Cooks of Crocus Hill
- Shannel Winkel, Chef at Fire and Whiskey Steakhouse
- Anne Andrus, Owner and Baker at Honey and Rye Bakehouse
- Laurie McCann Crowell, Owner of Golden Fig Fine Foods
- Janine Holig, Chef at Hot Indian Foods
- Amy Buckmeier, Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence
- Cassandra Johnston, Owner and Chef of Oui Chef
- Kari Grittner, Co-Owner and Chef of Tillie’s Farmhouse
- Ari Baker-Kern & Elizabeth Mullin, Chefs at Chowgirls Killer Catering
Awed by the almost-to-gorgeous-to-eat birthday cakes and ice-cream crafted by:
- Barb Zapzalka, Owner of Pumphouse Creamery
- Ashley Boeshans, Owner of Silver Lily Sweetery
- Margo Bredeson, Owner of Patisserie Margo
- Terri Leckas, Owner of Queen of Cakes
- Patti Soskin, Owner of Yum! Kitchen & Bakery
Awed by the tremendous outpouring of financial support from those who attended, those who participated in the silent auction and wine pull, those who donated through our Fund-a-Need campaign, and to those who sponsored Illuminight:
- Premier Sponsor: Bremer Bank
- Presenting Sponsor: Morrie’s Auto Group
- Gold Sponsors: Denine Bergeland and Jane Griffin
- Blue Sponsors: Epiq, Salo, Jane Welch, Julie Koch, Heather Capistrant
- Patron Sponsors: OffiCenters and Underneath It All
Awed by Patty and Rachel, who shared their story with guests:
“It’s invasive ductal carcinoma…you have breast cancer”…words no one ever wants to hear, but the ones that were coming out of the phone that I had just answered. . . . My brain was spinning, I had no idea what was coming next, what to expect, or how to deal with all of it,” began Patty, a Firefly Guide.
Her Firefly Sister, Rachel, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 35, “Although my mother has had breast cancer three times, starting in her mid-30s when I was 3 years old, my own diagnosis came as a shock.” She continued, “Most of my peers were busy building up their careers, or having babies, or both. My career, on the other hand, was being abruptly put on hold, and soon I was faced with a very fast decision about whether or not to freeze my eggs ahead of starting chemotherapy.”
Patty and Rachel were matched and began corresponding, first via email, then phone, and then in person. Rachel reveals, “(Patty) was a bright and shining light from the start — always ready with a listening ear, encouraging words, and — as we started meeting more regularly in person — often some kind of thoughtful, comforting gift as well, like lavender lotion and homemade banana bread. She told me about her own journey of figuring out the work-life balance in the face of her own diagnosis and treatment. She commiserated with my most unglamorous and embarrassing side effects. As chemo wore on and the initial rush of support from friends and colleagues started to subside, Patty was steadily there, checking in and asking how things were going with a quality of understanding that very few people in my life had.
Rachel finished with, “In April of last year, with two months of chemo left to go, I mentioned to Patty that I was struggling to find energy and motivation to exercise, but always felt better when I managed to do so. She asked if it might be useful for us to take walks together — and thus began our weekly walk around Lake Harriet, which we have been doing for over a year now — through the rest of chemo, through all of radiation, and through the past 10 months of recovery since treatment ended.”
And awed by the volunteers who made this all happen, especially our Illuminight Committee Co-Chairs Jane Griffin and Cleo Swenson.
We cannot thank YOU enough!
And now it is our turn to turn your financial gift into more effective action: we will use the funds raised to meet the growing demand for our program over the coming year and make plans to hire an additional licensed staff member.
Written and compiled by Amy Tix, Firefly staffer and breast cancer survivor who was thrilled by the energy, the food, and the comraderie of Illuminight, and who is ready to “get glowing” on what lies ahead!