Sparkle of Hope Event Raises $87,000 to Fight Gynecologic Cancer
MADISON - On Monday, October 11, more 200 cancer survivors, donors and volunteers gathered at the second annual Sparkle of Hope event and raised more than $87,000 to fight gynecologic cancer in Wisconsin. This amount nearly doubled last year's success of $44,000.
The event at Nakoma Country Club featured 50 unique silent auction items donated by local businesses, including hand-crafted jewelry, designer accessories and an all-expenses paid vacation in Wisconsin Dells.
No auction item fared better, however, than the live auction for the culinary services of four Madison firefighters. Promising a home-cooked meal to the winner and five of their guests, the men generously donated a second meal to the runner-up after the bidding topped $1,000.
Dr. Laurel Rice, chair of the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, spoke about gynecologic oncology advances made in the past 30 years.
One such advancement involves the discovery of genes that put women at high risk for ovarian cancer. "This discovery has led to the development of early screening and prevention strategies for patients," Rice said.
Using the old adage "it really does take a village," Dr. Rice also made mention of the countless people who help defeat cancer here every day, from patients to clinicians. She talked of the uniqueness of the UW Carbone Cancer Center in this regard. "This is a very robust agenda this group has set for itself."
The event also portrayed stories of gynecologic cancer patients. Event host and WISC-TV 3 anchor Eric Franke profiled one such patient – Pam Wilhelmsen and her battle with ovarian cancer.
"I'm so proud to be part of this explosion of ovarian cancer awareness," said Wilhelmsen. "By appearing locally and as part of a Department of Defense review panel, we have seen women listen and become advocates for their own bodies."
Wilhelmsen is also proud of the treatment she has received at the Cancer Center. "I'll tell you what ... the battle is being pursued and fought by the best of the best."
The night's program also included speeches by Jim Hoyt, former director of the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication on his late wife's fight with gynecologic cancer. Audience members also heard from survivor and volunteer Rita Britt, who spoke on coping with the recent loss of her friend to cancer.
Wilhelmsen said it best in her own closing remarks: "We charge ahead with faith, hope and hopefully a sense of humor."
The UW Carbone Cancer Center wishes to thank every survivor, family member, volunteer and donor who made this event such a success.
Date Published: 10/22/2010