Breast cancer is never diagnosed at a good time. These were the words spoken by three-year breast cancer survivor Laurie Ng at “Browse, Brunch and Buy,” a breast cancer fundraiser for Breast Cancer Angels. The nonprofit provides financial support to women and men undergoing treatment and Ng was one of those recipients.
On April 28, guests arrived at the Santaluz Club to shop for a cause while enjoying an afternoon of scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and paired wines. More than $5,000 was raised for San Diegans needing financial assistance who are undergoing breast cancer treatments.
Breast Cancer Angels helps more than 500 patients every year residing in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Co-chairing the event were Rancho Santa Fe residents Holli Lienau and Adrienne Falzon. Lienau also serves as board treasurer of Breast Cancer Angels.
Generous vendors for the day donated 20 percent of their proceeds to Breast Cancer Angels. Money raised in San Diego stays in the area to help San Diegans in need.
Both Lienau and Falzon took center stage thanking guests for their support. Following was Debra Stroman, executive director of Breast Cancer Angels, who said a few words about the organization and welcomed Ng to share her story.
“For me, the timing of my diagnosis could have never been worse,” she said.
Ng said she and her husband did everything right to plan for their future.
“We had a nice life with a nice dream, and we worked hard, but life hit,” she said.
The couple faced financial difficulties after a job layoff. However, things began to turn for the better.
And then life hit hard again, Ng said.
At 36, during a breast self-exam, she noticed something new.
“Within three days, I had been diagnosed with Stage 3 ductal carcinoma,” Ng said.
She underwent rounds of chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction and radiation.
“My daughter had just turned 5 and life was very, very tough,” she said. “I had to quit my job mostly because I was nauseous all day. I was too tired. I would fall asleep and I had chemo brain so bad that I would forget people’s names in my family. It was horrible.”
Now they were a single income family.
“Without me working, bills piled up,” she said. “We prioritized those, but in doing so we had nothing left for necessities.”
Ng pointed out that she did have good health insurance and excellent doctors. At an appointment, one of her doctors wanted to know if she had a financial need after her diagnosis.
Ng admitted she did. And then came Breast Cancer Angels.
“My doctor filled out an application, and within a few days, I had a gift card for Target,” she said. “It was exactly what we needed. I was able to buy groceries, toiletries, over-the-counter medications and vitamins I needed for my treatments.”
Over the months, Ng received a few more of those gift cards and she was so thankful for them. Money was tight during Christmastime, but Breast Cancer Angels sent enough gift cards so that Ng could provide her girl with a special Christmas and memorable holiday dinner.
Now, three-and-a-half years cancer-free and free from cancer treatment, Ng’s energy is coming back, and she has a job that she loves.
“I really want to encourage and ensure you that support in this organization helps those who really need the support,” Ng said. “I personally want to thank those who donated that made the personal impact on me and my family.”
To learn more about Breast Cancer Angles, visit www.breastcancerangels.org.