We Celebrate Our Dedicated Volunteers
Many years ago, Judy said she wanted to do volunteer work when she retired. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, she decided she didn’t want to wait that long to give back…..
“I’m particularly proud that after 20 years we’ve taken some time to reinvent ourselves. We had to evaluate what we’re about — fundraising. We raise money to give it away.”
Susan attended her first Stepping Out event in 2000 when the women in her support group purchased a table and invited her to join them. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. “I was so taken with the event I knew I had to volunteer” she says. And that was the beginning of her long term love affair with To Celebrate Life.
Kristen’s history with To Celebrate Life goes back almost to our beginnings. She first volunteered in 1998, and then modeled in 1999. From model mom to board member
The name’s O’Mara – Laurie O’Mara. You may remember her as one of the Stepping Out Bond Girls when she modeled in 2011. Laurie jumped wholeheartedly into the role, as she does with every role she takes on.
Lisa is the face behind the faces that grace the Stepping Out runway every September. As the model trainer for 10 years, she has helped over 300 women prepare for the experience that would help them feel alive and beautiful.
Lori is what you might call a professional volunteer. She started donating her time and efforts when she was just nine years old and has worked with numerous organizations ever since. But that all came to a screeching halt in 1998, when tragedy struck. She lost her father and her boyfriend within six months of each other.
In the early 2000s Lanny Udell was looking to get involved in a women’s cause, and learned about To Celebrate Life from a Jazzercize buddy. Charlene Mikeska, who had been a Stepping Out model, was talking about the upcoming fashion show and invited Lanny to a planning meeting. Lanny went to the meeting as an observer and left as a committed volunteer.
Like so many of our volunteers, Erika started as a model in Stepping Out. While she was still in treatment in 2011 she saw a flyer about modeling in the event. She knew she wasn’t ready yet but signed on for 2012. “I thought of 2012 as my year of healing, and the show was a super-significant part of that,” she says.
Kathleen has been a dedicated volunteer for 15 years. She started as a dresser when her close family friend, Carol Huff, modeled in Stepping Out. And she’s been hooked ever since. The following year Kathleen worked on decorations for the event and served as Time Manager for several years.
Bridget first volunteered with To Celebrate Life in 2011. A professional graphic designer (Bridget Moore Design), she donated her talents to help us create the invitation, program and signage for Stepping Out. Bridget also worked with the Foundation’s Communications Committee to develop a brochure and individual inserts highlighting our three events.
If you’ve ever participated in, attended, or volunteered for Rally, you know Fran Yacko. She’s not only this month’s Face of the Foundation, she’s the Face of Rally to Celebrate Life! A dedicated volunteer, she first attended Rally in 1992 and played in the tournament. In those days, the event was called Rally for the Cause and benefited the American Cancer Society.
Craig is no stranger to the Foundation – he’s been a supporter ever since his wife, Gail, modeled in the 1999 Stepping Out To Celebrate Life. As she went on to volunteer, serve on the board and as board president, Craig was with her all the way. This year, he stepped up to chair Tee It Up, which takes place on June 25.
Sue’s creativity is well known to those who have had the privilege of working with her over the years. Her first career was as an art teacher in the Boston area, then after moving to San Francisco she launched her own graphic design studio. Sue was also the founder and director of the Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival, held annually in San Rafael.
Patty’s is the smiling face behind the camera at Foundation events. Since 2002, she’s photographed the models at the model luncheon, captured the fashion show and covered everything from the Grants Reception to Rally,Tee It Up and more. It all began when she received tickets to Stepping Out in 2000. Watching the show, she knew immediately that she wanted to be involved.
Janice was part of the Foundation before there was a Foundation! One of the “founding mothers,” she’s been a vital part of To Celebrate Life since that first fateful fashion show in a Kentfield garden in 1996. That year she teamed up with B.B. Bernheim and several other Marin breast cancer survivors to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
When the models walk out on the Stepping Out runway looking beautiful in their fabulous fashions, Patti Litman is in the audience, beaming. Since 2005 she has worked as part of the fashion team with Janice Sunderland and Chris Brettingen that helps select, fit and accessorize each outfit. Patti was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and modeled the following year.
Jane was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 1991 while living in Washington DC. She had wonderful caregivers, but it was only after moving to Marin County in 1999 that she discovered an additional aspect of care giving – To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation. Being able to give back has always been something Jane wanted to do. She volunteered to model in Stepping Out in 2003 and has continued to participate each year serving on various committees.
This month we celebrate Elaine See, a long-time volunteer who has contributed to the Foundation in many roles and in many ways. Elaine heard about To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation at a Marin General Hospital Breast Health Program support group. She began volunteering with the Foundation shortly thereafter, first as a model in Stepping Out To Celebrate Life in 2002.
We’re pleased to honor Teri Dowling, Celebration Circle member and dedicated volunteer. Like so many of our volunteers, Teri’s experience with the Foundation began when she modeled in Stepping Out To Celebrate Life. That was in 1998, and her involvement grew as she continued to volunteer in various roles from heading up the Stepping Out Live Auction to co-chairing the event.
This month we honor Chris Brettingen, past board president. Chris is a familiar face at To Celebrate Life. Her path as a volunteer started on the Stepping Out runway in 2003…and led all the way to president of the Board of Directors. For the last six years Chris has worked with the model committee, spearheading the fashion team that selects outfits and arranges fittings for the Stepping Out models.
This month we celebrate former board member Julie Ballard. Several years ago, a friend of Julie’s, who happened to be a long-time Foundation volunteer, suggested she attend a volunteer kickoff meeting saying, “your energy would be good for the Stepping Out models.” Little did Julie know that by attending that first meeting she would soon embark on a new adventure.
This month we salute our new Volunteer Coordinator, Heidi Woodhull. Heidi joined the To Celebrate Life family last year as a Stepping Out volunteer and model. She then was invited to help coordinate volunteers for the Foundation and now is a vital part of the team. Her organizational skills, passion and attention to detail make her the perfect volunteer
Meet Christina Sand, the face behind www.tocelebratelife.org. Christina became our Webmaster in July of 2005. She had taken some basic web design classes “for the fun of it,” and taught herself HTML, the coding behind the content you see on each page. Early in 2006 Christina partnered with then Communications Chair Phyllis Evans and Web Designer Matt Jennings to totally revamp the website.
This month we celebrate Jeanne Capurro, a dedicated volunteer since 1997, now a member of the Board’s Executive Committee. A familiar face to most of us, Jeanne’s involvement dates back to the early days, when the organization was called the Marin Breast Cancer Committee. She attended the second Stepping Out To Celebrate Life to support her friend, Elaine McCarthy, who was modeling. “I loved the feeling in the room, and I wanted to be part of it,” says Jeanne.
Each month we’ll feature one of our dedicated volunteers, someone whose behind the scenes efforts contribute enormously to the Foundation’s success. This month we celebrate Martha Auld, a 10-year volunteer with To Celebrate Life and presently the Technical Advisor to the Board. For three years Martha was a member of the Board where she used her corporate work experience to help the Foundation operate more efficiently.