The Horizon of Hope luncheon, held at Mahoning Valley Country Club on Sunday, brought mothers, daughters, and friends together to help raise money for a local woman who is battling breast cancer.
This year's luncheon, which was organized by the Forever Friends branch of Longaberger Home Consultants, had dozens of women and children, and even a few men, filling the banquet hall to support Patricia K. Kurtz of Jim Thorpe, who has been fighting breast cancer since 2001.
The luncheon also serves to raise awareness of the most common form of cancer in women.
The day was perfect as participants gathered to enjoy a meal, listen to inspirational words, take part in a Chinese auction, and help the fight against breast cancer, which affects over 200,000 women annually.
Jessyca Fredericks, a breast cancer survivor, opened the luncheon with a short welcome speech and thanked all the companies and donors for the Chinese auction, which was how the day's proceeds were raised. She then introduced Patricia's daughter, Suzy Kurtz, who said a prayer over the luncheon.
After lunch, Fredericks spoke about her own experience with breast cancer and how she overcame the trauma of not feeling like a woman. Fredericks had a double mastectomy to remove both of her breasts as a result of the cancer; and then had reconstructive surgery of her breasts.
At the time of her diagnosis last year, Fredericks was only 30.
"There are many difficult times that you go through," she said. "I went through periods where I didn't want people around because I felt so bad, but I fought for my children."
She said that her daughter volunteered to shave her head so that her mother wouldn't feel so awkward.
She also talked about how her breast cancer effected her son.
After her own story, Fredericks asked how many women in the room were breast cancer survivors. Many raised their hands.
She then provided words of encouragement to many in attendance, as well as urged women who have friends dealing with cancer to be there for them.
She stressed that sending cards helps the people dealing with cancer, because these little gestures are what help the families make it through.
She ended her presentation with a reminder of the importance of knowing your body and getting checked when something isn't right
Following Frederick's speech, Kurtz addressed the audience and her family in attendance.
She thanked everyone for coming to the luncheon and supporting her and her family.