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Third Annual Breast Cancer Walk Draws Crowd

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 11:11 am | Updated: 11:50 am, Mon Oct 28, 2019.

On Tuesday, October 22, at the Mountains Community Hospital Rose Garden, a group of breast cancer survivors, residents of the skilled nursing facility, family members, and supportive MCH staff gathered to raise awareness of breast cancer and help support the MCH Foundation’s efforts in buying a new 3D mammography machine.

The garden was decorated with pink balloons, and tables with pink tablecloths were set out with light refreshments which included pink lemonade, hibiscus tea, pink-dyed white-chocolate-covered strawberries, coffee, a fruit plate, cupcakes, and cookies. The Mountain Fifes & Drums was also present to perform at the beginning of the event.

A game called “bra toss” was set up on the walkway that invited attendees to toss beanbags into the cups of different sized bras hanging on a decorated board in order to win prizes. All around the grounds walked friendly therapy dogs and their handlers who had been invited to the event.

Zee Salva, Mountain Community Hospital Resident, is the one responsible for coming up with the idea for the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, which gains a larger following year on year and has now attracted more sponsors than ever.

“Those who are involved are all the residents of the skilled nursing facility,” Salva, who prefers to go by Zee, said, “We want to make the public aware of getting checked. Not just women, but men too.”

Cheri Altmeyer, Activities Director at Mountains Community Hospital, explained where the idea came from. 

“Three years ago, I told residents they could do a lot of things,” Altmeyer said. “So Zee decided to do a breast cancer awareness walk. We were going to do it in the parking lot, but because a lot of residents are in wheelchairs we decided to do it [in the rose garden].”

Volunteer Alden Thayer explained why he was there to support the event, stating, “My daughter is the longest living survivor of a brain tumor. 17 years. She started out at stage four. Her surgery was performed at Brown’s Academy in St. Louis, which is a research hospital. Her name is Rebecca. She’s on a special chemo that was developed just for people who had their tumors start in the brain.”

Thayer provided a tray of mini chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting on them. 

Rim of the World Comfort Pets and Inland Empire Therapy Dogs brought a pack of friendly hounds dressed in pink bandannas, shirts, and sunglasses along to entertain the attendees.

Rick Mitchell of Inland Empire Therapy Dogs explained how his pup Boo Boo became a therapy dog with the organization,

“You start out with a dog that can do basic commands and then you join up with a group and go to training every Tuesday night to help them socialize with other dogs and people,” Mitchell said. “After you go through training the dog and handler have to go through a certification process. You need to be able to say “down,” and “stay” and walk away and have the dog stay for two minutes. Then they put the dogs in a “mob scene” with wheelchairs and walkers and people and other dogs and they watch how they react. One of the tests is the slam a metal dog food bowl down on the ground behind them and if the dog stays calm, that’s what they’re looking for. They don’t want a dog that’ll react. The dogs have to be bulletproof in terms of noises.”

He added, “They’re all super well-behaved.”

The event has the support of the Registered Nurses of the Skilled Nursing Facility, as well as all of the Licensed Vocational Nurses in the Facility. The hospital’s own Environmental Services department also supports the event as well. This year a number of local businesses have sponsored the event, including Hortensia’s, who provided vanilla and buttercream cupcakes with breast cancer awareness frosting, Jensen’s finest foods, who brought festive fall cookies, Wildflowers, who provided floral arrangements, and the Lake Arrowhead Brow and Beauty Bar who helped out as well.

For information about future events held at Mountains Community Hospital, or if you would like to get involved as a volunteer for future events, please contact Cheri Altmeyer at (909) 436-3010.

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