As the guests of honor entered the Sanford Elks Lodge Tuesday night, they were welcomed with the gift of pink leis and the heartfelt greeting of “aloha!”
The warm reception continued for the approximately 30-plus breast cancer survivors in attendance at the Central Carolina Hospital Auxiliary’s “Pamper Yourself Night Out.” The second annual gathering — which had a “pink paradise” theme — brought breast cancer survivors together for a night of fellowship and special activities.
“Aloha” translates to “hello” and “goodbye” in English, explained CCH Auxiliary President June Gunter, but in the Hawaiian language, it means affection, peace, compassion and mercy.
“My favorite is compassion; each of you has compassion for each other,” Gunter told those assembled. “You not only receive compassion and support from your family [and] friends, but each other. You are a family, sisters.”
Gunter added that the Auxiliary is available as a means of support.
“We want you to know that when you have a down day and you feel a sudden burst of strength and smile, you are receiving compassion from us and other individuals who are thinking of you and supporting you,” she said. “Some you may know and others you may not know.”
Area businesses and individuals treated the survivors to back massages, makeup sessions, nail polishing, hand treatments and other services. Some in attendance went home with door prizes, and at the end of the evening, CCH Breast Health Navigator Gwyn Sandlin gave each lady a Susan G. Komen T-shirt, and attendees also received a long-stem pink carnation.
With the venue awash in pink, including flowers, ribbons and even desserts, attendee Mary John Coggins said, “It was really wonderful.”
“The place was an absolute fairyland,” Coggins said. “It was a special, special night.”`
A five-year survivor, Coggins emphasized the importance of exercise, a strong support system of faith, friends and family, and a positive attitude.
“You’ve got to have a sense of humor,” Coggins said. “If you can’t laugh, you’re not going to make it.”
According to The American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and on Oct. 18, National Mammogram Day, CCH staff will wear pink.
To schedule a mammogram, call (919) 774-2157.