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Breast cancer survivors throw party to thank helpful friends

When one is diagnosed with breast cancer, friends and family typically offer a wave of support in the form of home-cooked meals, rides to the doctor’s office and knitted caps. While these shows of kindness are much appreciated by the recipients, showing gratitude to everyone who has lent a helping hand during treatment can feel a little overwhelming for someone who is not feeling well.

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From left, Signal Mountain residents Joselyn Willis and Carolyn Boatner, recent breast cancer survivors, throw a party at Bachman Community Center to thank friends and family for their support.

Signal Mountain residents and recent breast cancer survivors Carolyn Boatner and Joselyn Willis came up with an idea to show their loved ones how much they appreciated their help: they threw a party.

“[We decided to throw the party because of] the support and the caring community we have here on Signal Mountain, because neither of us have family here. Our friends are our family,” said Willis. “We had tons of thank you notes to write, so we decided to throw a party.”

They sent invitations to around 125 friends and family members, about 80 of which went to Signal Mountain residents. Approximately 75 people came from the community as well as from more far-flung locales such as Washington, D.C.

Boatner and Willis wore pink feather boas, and attendees who were also breast cancer survivors were given a pink ribbon to wear.

Among those in attendance were Boatner and Willis’ doctors, Signal Mountain residents Drs. Brooke Daniel, an oncologist, and Laura Witherspoon, a surgeon.

Dolores Wyatt of Signal Mountain provided the party’s tiered tres leches cake with whipped cream icing.

The MaryEllen Locher Breast Center donated tote bags, pens, sticky pads and information sheets about breast cancer and mammograms to distribute to attendees. Boatner and Willis also had pink candles made to give to each guest as a personal thank you. The tops bore stickers with inspiring word such as “Survivor,” “Hope,” “Strength,” “Love,” “Faith” and “Courage.”

Since both women’s lives were saved by annual mammograms, they said they would like to emphasize to the community the importance of yearly checkups. Willis added that women who have not had a mammogram in more than a year for financial reasons or lack of insurance should contact the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center for assistance.

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