Ranch residents champion breast cancer fundraiser

Ranch residents champion breast cancer fundraiser
Adrienne Falzon and Holli Lienau are co-chairs of the April 28 breast cancer fundraiser “Brunch, Browse and Buy” at the Santaluz Club. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Santaluz Club is turning pink thanks to two local women who are helping to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Angels. The Spanish-colonial setting is a perfect venue for the April 28 afternoon soiree titled, “Brunch, Browse and Buy.”

Co-chairing the event are Rancho Santa Fe residents Holli Lienau and Adrienne Falzon.

“The idea behind this event is that everyone comes in, has some wine, nibbles on some brunch and then browses and buys,” said Lienau, who is also board treasurer of Breast Cancer Angels. “Twenty percent of everything purchased goes to Breast Cancer Angels.”

Entertainment for the day will be classical flamenco guitarist Miles Moynier.

Breast Cancer Angels helps women (and men) battling cancer who are in need of financial support. This type of assistance ranges from food certificates, fuel, rental expenses and utilities to medical co-pays and more.

Breast Cancer Angels is unique in that it helps patients with their specific financial needs. All proceeds go to those in need and the money raised in San Diego will go to San Diegans.   

According to Lienau, Breast Cancer Angels was established in the Orange County area in 1999 when two women met while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. They realized that health insurance only covered so much.

“If you’re sick, you can’t go to work, but your bills are still going to be the same,” Lienau said.

The original co-founders realized the financial and emotional need that many patients and their families face during this trying time. From humble beginnings, a handful of people contributed $20 a month, the organization evolved.

Today, Breast Cancer Angels assists well over 500 people every year in San Diego, Orange County and the South Bay combined. It’s not a grant-driven nonprofit, so it relies on contributions from its Breast Cancer Angels and fundraiser proceeds. Currently, the nonprofit has roughly 500 angels and that number continues to grow.

Lienau said that it supports about 30 San Diego women per month.

Over the last 18 years, Lienau said, a major shift has taken place.

“We used to support a lot of older ladies. Now, patients are younger which is harder because they have kids,” she said. “It’s not just the 65- to 70-year-old lady getting breast cancer. The 35-year-old mom with two little kids is getting it, too.”

The domino effect can be awful for patients who are unable to work. Lienau said that once a patient’s family goes through their savings, they can end up losing their home.

“We all say that this would never happen because I have family, and I have friends. But some people don’t,” she said. “They don’t have a support system and these stories break your heart.” 

The need in San Diego is enormous, she said. 

Falzon, the co-chair and also a children’s author, became involved with Breast Cancer Angels nearly five years ago.

“As I grow older, I’m really grateful for what I have,” Falzon said. “But sometimes it’s not enough just to be grateful. You have to go to the next level, and that’s giving back. However I can be of service, be it this organization or another, I’m there. What’s the point of any of this (life) unless we’re helping someone else.”

Both Lienau and Falzon decided to host “Brunch, Browse and Buy” in the spring when the weather was perfect. The event timing is an optimal shopping opportunity for Mother’s Day.

Falzon is a member of the Santaluz Club and secured the venue.

So far, the co-chairs locked in 15 vendors. Shoppers will have the opportunity to peruse upscale items such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, custom artwork, soy candles and more.

To date, vendors include Designer Details, Duchess of Pearls, Jacki B., Nancy Alvarez Women’s Clothing, Satori Designs, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Elise McKenna Designs, Studio Jewels, DC Langer Art, The Chocolate Corgi, Live the Dream, Blu Sands Boutique, Tina Frantz Designs, Connie J Designs and Willow Tree Candles.

And every purchase will go to helping a breast cancer patient.

Tickets for “Brunch, Browse and Buy” are $50 per person and seating is limited. Lienau and Falzon ask that those interested in attending RSVP by April 13. To purchase tickets, visit www.breastcancerangels.org.

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