Elk Meadows to honor breast cancer survivors | ParkRecord.com

Elk Meadows to honor breast cancer survivors

When Jessica Sweeten became the activities director for the Elk Meadows Assisted Living community in Oakley last month, she began organizing an event that would recognize those who have battled breast cancer.

Sweeten, who has worked at Elk Meadows in a different capacity since 2015, said at least two community members have lost their battles to the disease and, recently, a few more women have been diagnosed.

"There are a lot of people fighting a lot of big battles around here and, honestly, these are some tough ladies who just blow my mind," Sweeten said. "It just amazes me how much courage people could have in the face of something that dark. It inspired me to try and do something, even if it is something little."

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Elk Meadows Assisted Living will host the free luncheon for breast cancer survivors and warriors at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Oakley. Sweeten said anyone who has survived or been recently diagnosed is invited to attend.

"Since I've been on board, this is our first major move toward doing something for survivors and warriors," Sweeten said. "We have done events and seminars about a lot of different conditions and challenges people in our community and in our building are up against. But this time, we wanted to make an effort to bring the people to them."

Sandwiches and homemade desserts will be served alongside mocktails (drinks that do not include any alcohol), Sweeten said. Attendees will also make bracelets and have an opportunity to share their stories in an open mic format.

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"I want to try and help create a support system in the community," Sweeten said. "October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is good to be aware, but it only goes so far. One of the most important things you can do is to offer support. That is the goal here because I have seen it affect us personally."

Sweeten discussed a resident, referred to only as Betty, who has had a mastectomy and is "still kicking." She said the luncheon will honor inspiring people like Betty who have "put up the good fight."

"If all goes well, in my perfect world, we will find women that connect and create stories. That's my perfect outcome," Sweeten said. "We need to honor people's pasts because we see all kinds of diseases and illness diagnosed here. But I think breast cancer is a special one because it really, almost more than any other cancer, attacks our femininity and identity.

"Awareness is important, but you can try and use that to create support among our community to make this illness a little more endurable," she said.

Elk Meadows Assisted Living will host the free luncheon for breast cancer survivors and warriors at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Oakley, 4200 North 400 West. Reservations can be made by calling 435-783-5575. Elk Meadows will also be making transportation available for those who need it. For more information call Jessica Sweeten at 435-655-1586.

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