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Rainbow of Ribbons celebrates 10 years of supporting cancer survivors

ALTONA An event dedicated to those who have battled and survived cancer is celebrating its 10th year. The annual Rainbow of Ribbons Soiree will be held in the White Room of the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall next Friday, May 30, with more than 400 people expected to attend. Event coordinator Elli Collins, an oncology clinical nurse specialist at the FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, said the event has traditionally been open to breast cancer survivors, but was opened this year to survivors of all forms of cancer. The committee really felt strongly because it was the 10th year they wanted to make it really special and invite all cancer survivors, men and women, no matter what cancer theyve had, for a celebration of life, said Collins. The first soiree was hosted by the Treasure Chests breast cancer support group in May 1999, and initially included a guest speaker and cancer education exhibits. This year, the event has set aside the formalities in favor of creating a more relaxed atmosphere where attendees can simply enjoy each others company and be entertained, said Collins. The soiree, which will begin with a cocktail hour at 4:30 p.m., will include entertainment by master hypnotist Michael Blaine and The Boobie Sisters, a comedy troupe composed of breast cancer survivors. Performances by The Tim Collins Duo and Tracey DeCoste will also help round out the evening. A Chinese auction and raffles featuring items including jewelry, paintings, hotel stays, gift certificates and even an airplane ride over the Champlain Valley will also be held. The evening will also feature the annual presentation of the Elizabeth Heins Inspirational Survivorship Award. Established in 2005, the award 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 is given as a tribute to Heins, she said, with the award given in previous years to Gracelyn Murphy, Cyndi Topnick and Marie Beemer. The Rainbow of Ribbons Soiree will be held from 4:30-9:30 p.m. at the banquet hall, located at 47 Woods Falls Road. The cost of $20 per person will offset costs of programs offered to people in the community.Reservations were initially due May 23, but will still be accepted, said Collins. Those who wish to attend the event but who are unable to afford the cost of the reservation may contact Collins to make arrangements to attend. We dont want anyone not to go because they cant afford to, she said. For more information or reservations, contact Collins at the FitzPatrick Cancer Center, 562-7148, or via e-mail at ecollins@cvph.org.

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