2016 Grand Service Project
Bay Area Cancer Connections
Below is the transcript of the speech given by our Grand Worthy Advisor, Colleen, introducing our new Grand Service Project, the Bay Area Cancer Connections, at the First Official Visit in 2015. You can see Colleen give this speech on CA Rainbow Girls Facebook Page (the words in bold are a link to the video on our Facebook Page).
"It was two weeks before the start of my junior year of high school. I went to my friend Marina’s house, for what I assumed would be a normal summer get-together with our closest friends where we could enjoy the last moments of peace before the hectic rush of High School hit us. Little did I know how that fateful afternoon would change all of us forever.
The five of us sat in Marina’s bedroom, the light dim from the fading afternoon light, when one of my closest friends, Valeriya, confessed she had some bad news to tell us. Earlier that summer, she had felt a horrible pain in her right hip, and after visiting the doctor, they had discovered a tumor on her ovary. At age 16, two weeks before we would finally be upperclassman, my best friend had been diagnosed with stage 1c ovarian cancer.
This year, about 22,000 women will learn that they, too, have ovarian cancer. It accounts for about 3% of all cancer found in women, and ranks fifth among all cancer related deaths in women. It causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system; but the charities available for those needing support are minimal. That is why this year, I am proud to announce that we will be helping to fill the gap between ovarian cancer patients and the support they crucially need by helping to aid Bay Area Cancer Connections.
Bay Area Cancer Connections, or BCC, was created 21 years ago to provide breast cancer patients and survivors with comprehensive, personalized care in an atmosphere of warmth and compassion. In honor of their 20th anniversary, they extended their programs to meet the needs of those facing ovarian cancer as well. They provide both breast and ovarian cancer patients with information regarding their diagnosis and treatment,educate clients about health and wellness options, and numerous other services; all free of charge. But their most important service in their name : Connections. Their Buddy Program connects patients with someone who has a similar diagnosis, treatment, or age so they can share their cancer experience and provide emotional, practical, and informational support from someone who truly knows what they are going through.
I would remind you that Valeriya was only 16, with a cancer that mainly attacks women over 60; she had to juggle school work, SATs, AP tests all while not knowing if she would wake up the next day. While my friends and I were always there for Valeriya - from helping her catch up on schoolwork, to sitting with her through chemo- I knew that she still felt alone in her battle without someone to truly connect and understand her situation The BCC and their amazing programs would have fit this need. Together, we can close the gap, and provide much needed services to breast and ovarian cancer patients.
While Bay Area Cancer Connections is our main Grand Service Project that we will be raising funds for throughout the year, I would also like to ask that each assembly participates in a Relay for Life in honor of Mrs. Martin. Whether you walk laps to raise money for pancreatic cancer research, and create a luminary in her honor: I think this is a great way to honor a great women."