Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 "Lunch with Friends" Enjoys Record Number of Friends!

The largest number ever of "friends" gathered at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on a cool but sunny fall day to spend a few hours with friends - and what a wonderful time together it was! Francine's Friends welcomed back Robyn Scott and Colleen Murray (from Chicago's Second City Improv) to help co-host this year's event, along with our very own Linda Jackson of Indiana NewsCenter.

The packed house made a new friend with Dr. Adeline Deladisma, MD and 2011-2012 AAMC Breast Center Fellow, who shared her thoughts and excitement to be joining the Fort Wayne community as the area's only female, fellow-training breast surgeon. Dr. "D" officially starts with Indiana Surgical Specialists (ISS) on Nov. 5th and was given a heart-warming welcome from everyone in the audience. 

Next, our eight fabulous breast cancer survivors took the stage — Melissa Eshbach, Barbara A’Hearn, Denise Deeds, Gina Burtness, Jeannie Porter, JoEtta Bopp, Krista Gonzales, and Adoria Dowdell "strutted their stuff" and shared their stories, including red carpet interviews by improv artists turned "E" entertainment news type reporters Robyn and Colleen. Special thanks to Nancy Nokaya, owner of Essentials and Frosting, Susan of Susan's Fashions and Cookie Mausbaum from Stein Mart Boutique, along with Trend Setters Hair Design, Merle Norman Cosmetics, and The Loft Hair Skin Nails Salon, for their generosity and help with the special survivor makeovers. Vera Bradley "wrapped up" the special gift baskets for our survivors with their new "Ribbon" design tote, filled with lots of extra goodies from local area retailers — Auburn Artifacts, The Cheese Man, Essentials and Frosting, Sarah Abbott; Gold Canyon Candles, Goldworks, Jeremiah Brewed Awakenings, Lebamoff’s Cap N’ Cork, Massage Envy (north & south Locations), The Olive Twist, Paper Gourmet, Pat Smith Jewelry, Possibilities and Pizza Hut — THANK YOU!

Our Second City improv ladies then took the stage again to welcome two special friends from Chicago - in attendance for the first time, and actual friends of the "real" Francine - Francine Shubert, our namesake. This year marked the 10th anniversary since Francine's passing, so it was a special treat to hear Anne and Charlene share stories of their friendship with Francine, and then have the audience in stitches when they improved with Robyn and Colleen. A very special treat - and very special ladies!

Jen Ramos was the lucky winner of the special Star 88.3-sponsored gift basket — a $285 value. Other exciting news? PUNCH Films was in the house to help us all celebrate the recent EMMY nomination last year's short film "Life with Friends" received earlier in the week at the Chicago Midwest Emmy Nomination event. Our short film was one of four out of 14 in "Category #7 - Outstanding Achievement for Informational / Instructional Programming - Program/Special/Series/Feature/Segment (Award to Producer/Host/Reporter)" and we are SO proud!!!

The luncheon wrapped up with a rousing flash mob grand finale that brought everyone to their feet to sing, shout, dance, clap or smile...thanks to Tiffany Doyle and Tiffany & Co. School of Dance, Ace McKay, Flashing Edge promotions, K Monique's Studio of Dance, staff members of Fort Wayne Radiology, Markey’s Rental & Staging Fort Wayne Division and the countless other "flash-mobbers" who helped present "We Are Family" in such a spectacular style.

SPECIAL THANKS to our 2012 sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: PHP Foundation, Radiation Oncology Associates, Vera Bradley, Indiana Surgical Specialists (ISS), Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology, Emley Design Group, Steel Dynamics, OmniSource, and Star 88.3.

SPECIAL THANKS to our 2012 corporate table sponsors: 21ALIVE/ I WEAR PINK, Breast Diagnostic Center, Briner Building Inc., The DeHayes Group, Haines, Isenbarger & Skiba, Indiana Michigan Power, Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center, PNC, and Tower Bank.

SPECIAL THANKS to our 2012-13 “Bosom Buddies for Life” Sustaining Friendship Circle: Ann Bobilya, Cheryl Brockmann, Carol Busse, Sharon Eisbart, Cathy Gallmeyer, Rae Gonterman, Glynda Harris, Debbie Hirschfield, Nancy McNabb, Dar Richardson, Ari Rifkin, Judy Rifkin, Mimi Rolland, Chris Rupp, Sharon Simmons, Judy Springer, Kathy Summers, Neile Ternet, Carolyn Tyndall, Irene Walters, and Mary Ann Ziembo.

And heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who attended this year's event. See you next year!

Click to view ALBUM OF EVENT and of ATTENDEE PHOTO ALBUM on our Facebook page.