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Florida Today article………….Daffodil Gala

Fifth annual Daffodil Gala

When: Sept. 10
Where: Holiday Inn-Viera
Benefitting: Space Coast Cancer Foundation
Amount raised: $52,000

 The setting was festive, but the mission at Saturday night’s Daffodil Gala was serious: Raise money to help local cancer patients.

“This is our opportunity to help people survive the most deadly challenge of their lives,” said Dr. R. Duff Sprawls of the Space Coast Cancer Center, as he welcomed guests to the event at the Holiday Inn-Viera.

The tropically elegant dinner brought in more than $50,000 for the Space Coast Cancer Foundation, an organization established in 2006 to help cancer patients and their caregivers cope with the financial and emotional demands that come with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The foundation helps patients pay for transportation, pain medication, anti-nausea medication and utilities.

After mingling and browsing the silent auction items, guests sat down at tables decorated with birds of paradise and twinkling lights and immediately were given an eye-opening demonstration of the importance of the event. Everyone who had been touched by cancer was asked to stand. About half the room the audience rose. Then everyone who knew someone who’d had cancer was asked to stand. All were on their feet.

After the greeting from Sprawls, Dr. Richard M. Levine, also of the Space Coast Cancer Center, introduced Volunteers of the Year Alice Alderman and Kathy Skalet. Both have volunteered extensively to help cancer patients, he said, including working with Relay for Life and the Daffodil Gala.

Next, he brought Survivor of the Year Dawn Faust to the stage.

Faust was diagnosed in 2009, he said. Since then, “volunteering is her No. 1 hobby to help cancer victims find hope and strength.”

Faust, an account executive with SCB Marketing, said she was humbled to be singled out for the honor. “When you work with cancer patients, you find yourself in the company of people who are extremely brave.”

She gave a moving description of her first meeting with Levine.

“On the day that I met Dr. Levine, I had been turned away from two other oncologists because I lacked insurance,” she said. “I asked if he would please treat me. He said I was a cancer patient, I was in a community of people he was committed to serve.”

He told her to worry about getting better and let him worry about the treatments.

Being a cancer patient is like being handed a giant Rubik’s Cube, she said.

The Space Coast Cancer Foundation helps patients figure out how to solve that most difficult of puzzles.

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