Circle of Hope hosts tea party to support cancer patients


After Colleen Shaffer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, she decided she wanted to help others who were on the same uncertain journey as her. .

She wanted to bring hope to individuals as her breast cancer worsened and turned into metastatic breast cancer. And, that first snack allowed him to found Circle of Hope, which since 2004 has grown into a non-profit organization that provides financial support and a welcoming community to cancer patients in need.

Circle of Hope hosted its 17th annual tea fundraiser on Saturday, featuring shows, a raffle and silent auction at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. The theme for this year’s tea was Every Day is a Holiday.

“High tea is a time to get together with friends, neighbors and new friends, and it’s not just for women, because men attend too,” Shaffer said. “We come forward to support cancer patients. ”

Keynote speaker Dr Kelly Cude, left, and Circle of Hope Founder Colleen Shaffer chat at the reception ahead of the 17th Annual Circle of Hope Tea Party held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Saturday 100921. Dan Watson / The Signal

Participants decorated 32 tables in unique settings ranging from holidays to national holidays celebrating food, people, books and more.

“Tea is a big event,” Shaffer said. “The first tea, we could have had it in one dish, or we could have bought dishes, but each volunteer brought their dishes, which started the tradition of themes for teas. ”

She added that there are many nonprofits that support cancer patients, and for Circle of Hope to stand out, you had to create a unique, joyful and imaginative fundraising event. And beyond that, some nonprofits focus on research, while Circle of Hope provides free services to help the whole person – through emotional, educational, financial, and supportive services.

“The proceeds support cancer patients in our community,” said Laura Kirchhoff, executive director of the association. “No one who enters the circle pays a dime. The circle offers financial assistance to those who cannot afford their cancer treatments such as chemotherapy treatments, cancer radiation surgery, drugs, oncology visits, and we will pay for those who cannot. cannot afford these vital measures.

The funds also benefit their support groups, courses and services. The association offers more than 36 different wellness therapies in its cancer center.

“Survivors can still come and take advantage of all of our services,” Kirchhoff said. “Family members, caregivers and those who have lost a loved one who need support and services in different ways. We are open to anyone touched by cancer, and by cancer.

Participants are seated at 32 themed tables during the 17th Annual Circle of Hope Tea Party held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Saturday 100921. Dan Watson / The Signal

The 17th annual tea also marks the organization’s 31 Days of Hope for October, which coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she added.

“Circle of Hope has a tradition of celebrating days of hope, and we hope there will one day be a cure,” Kirchhoff said. “We are raising community awareness and fundraising across the community in October. ”

More than 200 people filled the 32 tables with different colors and designs. Tea attendees were community members, longtime supporters of the organization, active cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones, all of whom showed up for a day of celebration.

Circe of Hope Executive Director Laura Kirchhoff, left, and Board Chairman Alexander Hafizi welcome attendees to the 17th Circle of Hope Tea held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on Saturday 100921. Dan Watson / The Signal

Some attendees even dressed up in their respective table outfits, such as Teri Fox, a sponsor of the Teri-Hughes Family Foundation, who dressed up to the theme “Alice in Wonderland”.

“I’m sponsoring a table today, and we’re the Mad Hatter Tea Party,” Fox said. “It’s amazing. I’m ridiculously decorated and can’t wait to see all the other tables.

She added that it has been “hell” since the start of the pandemic and it brought her so much joy to see everyone at the tea party supporting cancer patients, especially since she lost her father. with pancreatic cancer and one of his best friends. is fighting its own battle with cancer.

Kelly Cude, a professor at the College of the Canyons, was the keynote speaker. She spoke of her 35-year cancer journey, which began with the loss of her grandfather to cancer.

She dedicated her life to cancer research, until one day she realized she had a tumor. Doctors didn’t believe her because she had a rare cancer that only 1 in 500 million people are diagnosed with.

Eventually, after meeting with a medical council, she received appropriate treatment. She added that Circle of Hope has helped her through this difficult journey.

“The fight against cancer is a long process,” Cude said. “Sometimes you can feel like you’re in a dark tunnel with no light. But Circle of Hope provided me with a community of love and support, and it was like seeing the light. ”

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