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Goller honored with Heins memorial award

ALTONA Libby Goller doesnt think shes done anything special. That sentiment, however, wasnt echoed by her peers as she was recognized with the 2008 Elizabeth Heins Inspirational Survivorship Award. The Champlain resident was presented the award during the 10th annual Rainbow of Ribbons Soiree, held at the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall May 30. The award was presented by Dr. Robert W. Heins, son of the late Elizabeth Heins, for whom the award is named. As he handed Goller her award, Heins credited her with being a super hero of cancer support for her active participation in the Reach to Recovery and Treasure Chests cancer support groups, Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure, and The Boobie Sisters, a comedy troupe composed of breast cancer survivors. Libby has done it all, said Heins. In fact, shes done so much, there wasnt enough room on the plaque to fit it all on. Goller, who was surprised and humbled by the award, spoke not of herself when accepting the award, but of her admiration of Elizabeth Heins, who served as an inspiration to her and others. I was very fortunate in having known Elizabeth, said Goller. She was an extremely gracious woman and a great inspiration as well. Anybody who met her knew how very positive and full of vim and vigor she was. It touched my heart to even be considered in the same category as Elizabeth, she added. Its been a long road for Goller, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. She underwent a lumpectomy that year to remove the cancer only to face a bout with kidney cancer two years later. She emerged triumphantly only to face breast cancer again in 2001. However, she was determined not to be beaten and beat cancer for a third time. The medical trifecta left Goller with a new outlook on life and an even stronger drive to help others. Ive learned to really appreciate life and not put things on the back burner, said Goller. I met Elizabeth at a Treasure Chests meeting and when I learned how many medical issue she had faced and yet she still had the strength and courage to move on, that stayed with me. Goller has also seen support in performing with The Boobie Sisters, which consists of local women such as herself who have triumphed in their own battles with cancer. The group uses a mixture of music and comedy to provide inspiration to others facing cancer and a message for women to have routine examinations in order to catch the disease in its earliest stages. Its fun to do and it serves a great purpose, said Goller, who has performed with the group for the past four years. Though the group is known for its comedy, its message is serious, she said. There have been women who have gone out and made appointments for mammograms after watching us perform and that is a good feeling, said Goller. When caught early, you stand a tremendous chance of survival. I can attest to that. The Elizabeth Heins Inspirational Survivorship Award, established in 2005, annually recognizes a breast cancer survivor who has exhibited the same characteristics as the late Elizabeth Heins, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, among other medical issues, in the mid-1980s. The award has been given in previous years to Gracelyn Murphy, Cyndi Topnick and Marie Beemer.

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