From Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul


Donna Andres lives in Branford, Connecticut, with her husband and children.

Pam Arciero is a puppeteer, director and actress for television, stage and film. Her credits include Sesame Street, Between the Lions, and numerous commercials, films and off-Broadway shows. She holds degrees from the University of Hawaii and the University of Connecticut.

Jami Bernard is a film critic for the New York Daily News and a breast cancer survivor. She is the author of seven books, including Breast Cancer: There & Back (Warner Books, 2001).

Jennifer Basye Sander is a New York Times bestselling author and an Emmy-award winning television producer. A popular public speaker, she lives in Granite Bay, California, with her husband, writer Peter Sander, and their sons Julian and Jonathan. You can reach her at [email protected]

Denise Blunk is the manager of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Grand Rapids Affiliate. She is active in local support groups such as Gilda’s Club and a Breast Health Coalition. Denise resides in Caledonia, Michigan, with her husband, Jim, and daughter, Adrianna. She enjoys reading, volleyball and shopping! Please reach her at [email protected]

Sharon Bomgaars is a wife, mother, nana and former reading teacher. Her hobbies include traveling with her husband of thirty-nine years, spending time with her family, teaching an ESL class and working in her church. Her dream is to someday write a children’s book for her beautiful grandchildren.

Arlette Braman is a freelance writer with many articles to her credit and the author of six nonfiction children’s books. When not writing, she indulges in her passion—sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Arlette lives in Maryland and enjoys quality time with her two teenagers, family and friends. She is a four-time breast-cancer survivor. Arlette may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected] or on her Web site at

Mary Anne Breen—Former Miss Colorado USA, model, cruise line DSM, mortgage L/O—finally found her Legacy as an Independent Business Owner with her husband, John, and son, Connor. She credits God’s grace, her Christian community, family, friends, business mentors—all who helped her breeze through eight chemo and thrity three radiation treatments. If she thought her breast would one day get her published, she wasn’t thinking cancer or book! She now cherishes all her titles: Christian, Wife, Mother, Survivor. Contact her at [email protected]

Anthony Burton received his bachelor of arts in exercise and sports science from the UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he works as a project manager and a personal trainer. He aspires to be an author of children’s books. Please e-mail him at [email protected]

Ellen Ann Callahan received her law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1977. She practices adoption law. Ellen enjoys being married, raising her two children, gardening, writing, playing poker and traveling on cruise ships. She also dances whenever she hears a beat. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Leah Cano holds a master’s degree in education and has worked as an elementary-school teacher. She has written for MAMM Magazine, The Desert Woman Magazine and Transitions Abroad Magazine. She has a deep love of travel and languages. She resides in Laguna Beach, California, where she continues to pursue a writing career.

Sue Caruso has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the past thirty-seven years. In addition to being a swimmer, she is an artist, voracious reader and community volunteer. Her sense of humor has no boundaries. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Kathy Cawthon and her husband, Roger, were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. They are now ten-year survivors! Kathy graduated from the College of William & Mary, and she is the author of Medicine, Marathons and Miracles: Turning a Diagnosis of Cancer into Personal Victory. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Kathy Chamberlin received her bachelor of science with honors in 1980. Her poetry has been published internationally. She has successfully fought breast cancer three times and can be reached at P.O. Box 1052, LaGrange Park, IL 60526.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Ida Chipman, a prize-winning journalist, is the wife of attorney and retired Appellate and Marshall County Judge Eugene Chipman. She has been a correspondent for the South Bend Tribune for the past eleven years and has had stories published in twenty-seven newspapers and several magazines and trade journals.

Donna St. Jean Conti is a breast-cancer survivor and cocreator of Next Level Survivor, an exercise program designed to address the special needs of post-surgery breast-cancer patients. She is a marketing communications professional and owner of St. Conti Communications in Mission Viejo, California. Contact her at [email protected]

Barbara Curtis obtained a bachelor of arts from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, in 1977. She’s owned three businesses, two with her sister (custom clothing shops in Walnut Creek, California, and Lahaina, Maui) and an international book sales and consulting venture called Books Beyond Borders/Curtis Int’l. She enjoys cooking, traveling, most outdoor activities, and the company of her good friends and wonderful family. She’s very happily married to Chuck Curtis, with her twenty-year wedding anniversary approaching.

Susan Darke is the director of human resources for an IT company in Virginia. She is a volunteer with the Y-ME Breast Cancer Support Group, serving as a match for newly diagnosed women. She enjoys reading, dancing, singing, sunny days and long walks on the beach.

John de Strakosch is an author who lives in southern California with his wife and their two dogs. His book, Healing Sword: Creating and Maintaining an Exquisite Life, is an inspiration to many and is available from the author. Please e-mail him at [email protected]

Teri Reath D’Ignazio is a career travel agent (thirty years). During her breast cancer treatment, she took a work sabbatical and became very involved in her community, particularly environmental issues. Teri is married and has one daughter, Curry. She enjoys quilting, traveling and ran for local office in November 2005. Please contact her at [email protected]

Regina Dodson is a teaching assistant at a local school. She is thankful for her husband, Tom, and sons, Michael and Tom, for their love and support. She plans on retiring at her lake home where she can watch the sun dance on the water, giving her peace and hope.

Carol Ross Edmonston received her B.S. from the University of Southern California in 1970. She is now an international inspirational speaker and offers creative workshops on the Magic and Wisdom of Doodling. She is an ardent student of meditation and enjoys hiking, fishing and traveling. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

T. Suzanne Eller is an author and freelance speaker from Oklahoma. She has been featured on numerous national media programs, including Focus on the Family and Aspiring Women. She ministers to teens and families and can be reached at or [email protected]

Sally Fouché lives in Bellevue, Washington, with her husband and three children. This story’s subject, Chris Helmholz, continues to inspire all. Sally graduated from the University of Puget Sound, with honors in economics, and worked in the computer and banking industry. She can be reached at [email protected]

Lowell Gere is a nine-year breast-cancer survivor. He is retired and lives in the northwest with his wife Betty. They enjoy travel and their grandchildren. He enjoys playing golf and is an active volunteer in organizations related to cancer and breast cancer. He can be reached at [email protected]

Judy Hague is currently on disability for her cancer. She enjoys reading, scrap-booking and writing. Her real love is writing poetry, and she has been published twice. Judy is currently writing a small book about her experience with cancer and hopes to be able to share it with others. E-mail her at [email protected]

Heather Haldeman began writing professionally six years ago. She has been married to her husband, Hank, for twenty-six years and has three children. She has published several personal essays and is currently writing a book on growing up in Los Angeles. Please reach her at [email protected]

Susan R. Harris is a professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. A breast cancer researcher, Susan was one of the original members of Abreast in a Boat, the world’s first Dragon Boat team comprised entirely of women living with breast cancer.

Jonny Hawkins loves creating cartoons. Over the last twenty years, his work has appeared in over 300 publications and in over 100 books. He has several books out including Laughter From the Pearly Gates and The Awesome Book of Heavenly Humor. He can be reached at [email protected]

Judith Averitt Hayes is a three-time breast-cancer survivor. She started a support group for survivors in her hometown of Winchester, Kentucky, in 1995. Judith is very active in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and a participant in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. She and her husband, Walter, have been married for forty-six years. They have two daughters and five wonderful grandchildren.

Jacqueline M. Hickey lives, runs and writes in Rockport, Massachusetts. You can contact her at [email protected]

Allan Hirsh, M.A. is a psychotherapist, trainer and cartoonist. His latest book, Relax For the Fun of It: A Cartoon & Audio Guide to Releasing Stress, is available at Contact Allan at [email protected] or 705-476-2219 (North Bay, Ontario). Web site

Leigh Anne Jasheway is a freelance humor writer who won the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing competition with this article. She believes in a previous lifetime she may have left the iron on. E-mail her at

Don Kelly is the owner of the Black Pearl Gallery stores on Maui, Oahu, and Balboa Island, California. He loves to travel the world finding inspiration for his unique and exotic jewelry designs.

Ruth Kotler received her BS in Biology from Stonehill College and her Physician Associate Degree from Yale School of Medicine. She is a Physician Associate at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She resides in Avon, Connecticut with her husband, David, and children Nathan and Hannah.

Pandora Kurth lives in Maui, Hawaii. Pandora has been a licensed massage therapist for sixteen years. She has been writing since her early years. Her first published story was in 1969. Her passions include working in the Healing Arts, writing, collecting vintage Hawaiiana and living “Aloha.”

Mary Ellen “Barney” LaFavers is a retired nurse who lives in Somerset, Kentucky. She was diagnosed with breast cancer over thirty years ago. Mary Ellen is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. Her nickname, “Barney,” was an affectionate derivation from her maiden name during nurse’s training and has stuck ever since.

Ryan Matthew Landis is an elementary-school teacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He’s written two books, including The Pink Ribbon Boys, a children’s book about two brothers whose football season takes a turn after their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. More information and his e-mail address can be found at

Ron Lando-Brown and his wife Micki live on the island of Maui. Their vacation rental business brings them people and stories from all over the world.

Betsy Ludwig is originally from San Francisco, California. She has a son and family in San Jose and a daughter and family in San Mateo. She moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, twenty-five years ago. Betsy loved teaching in California and Hawaii and is now in her tenth year of retirement. Her volunteer work fills a great space in her life. You can e-mail Betsy at [email protected]

Charles Markman has been in the art business since high school. He operated a graphic desing studio in the Chicago area and freelanced as a cartoonist for many years. Stil drawing cartoons and very involved in watercolors painting and pen and ink drawings, Charles can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

Doug Manuel is a mathematician who writes poetry as a balance to stressful situations. His wife, Josie, is a breast-cancer survivor of four years. They have two daughters and two grandchildren and enjoy them all very much. He lives on five acres in Gig Harbor, Washington, with two cats, a dog and a goose.

Tina Wagner Mattern, a Portland, Oregon, writer, is a healthy five-year survivor. Foregoing conventional treatments, she put her faith in God. He prescribed love, good nutrition, natural hormones and humor. This story is excerpted from her upcoming book, When Good Boobs Go Bad. . . . E-mail her at [email protected]

Lorna Maxwell is a native southern Californian. She has been an elementary-school teacher for seventeen years. Lorna likes to spend time with her wonderful husband, precocious daughter, two funny cats and their very energetic Jack Russell terriers. She also enjoys singing, playing piano and directing the children’s choir at church.

Maria McNaught attended Northeastern University. She is married and has two children. She enjoys writing and has published a children’s book called Grandma’s Ashanti Cloth. Please contact her at [email protected]

For twenty-one years,Dr. Suzanne Metzger has been captivating audiences with her keynote addresses. Her goal is to help people understand the incredible power of soft skills. She is the author of Learning Through Living . . . Some Assembly Required and coauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Living with Breast Cancer. Please e-mail her at [email protected] or visit

Lori Misicka is a professional speaker who helps people bounce back from all kinds of adversity. Her down-to-earth techniques were developed during twenty years of managing customers and staff in the broadcast industry and put to the test when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Contact Lori at [email protected]

Sherrie Page Najarian received her bachelor of science in nursing with honors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her master of science in nursing from Yale University. Sherrie enjoys writing personal essays and is currently working on a young-adult novel.

Jennie Nash is the author of The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lessons I Learned from Breast Cancer (Scribner, 2001). A five-year breast-cancer survivor at the age of forty-one, she is a popular speaker at breast-cancer survival celebrations across the country.

Joan Persky received her bachelor of arts degree in English literature in 1967. She is a substitute teacher in Calabasas, California, and especially enjoys helping children with their writing assignments. She has been a volunteer in the Los Angeles Unified School District for the Reading by Nines program. Joan enjoys reading novels and short stories, traveling worldwide, and playing the piano. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Pamela Pierce has been married to her high-school sweetheart for thirty-four years. She has two wonderful children and three beautiful grandchildren. She enjoys reading, sewing and interior decorating. You can e-mail her at [email protected]

Stephaine Piro lives in New Hampshire with her husband, daughter and three cats. She is one of King Features’ team of women cartoonists, “Six Chix” (she is the Saturday chick!). Her single panel “Fair Game” apears in newspapers and on her Web site She also designs gift items for her company Strip T’s. Contact her at [email protected]

Michele V. Price is the director of study abroad and international exchanges at Western Oregon University. She has lived and worked in Oregon since 1979. She is an eighteen-year breast-cancer survivor who learned during her healing process that literature, writing and the creative imagination can transform people and teach them to live well and to die well. She was a winner in the Oregon State Poetry Association’s Fall 2001 contest, and her poems have appeared in Manzanita Quarterly and Verseweavers.

Rhonda Richards-Cohen, a graduate of Greenville College and Stanford University, resides in Dallas with her stepchildren and husband Todd. His motto—“no more somedays”—changed the way they live with metastatic disease. An eight-year survivor, Rhonda retired from producing instructional multimedia to write her memoirs, pursue health and practice parenting.

Lee Scheinman attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. Her career involved many phases of the music business and later advertising. She currently lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia. There she continues cancer fundraising. Lee is an active Rotarian and volunteers teaching math to high-school dropouts.

Bonnie Seibert was raised in Merrillville, Indiana. She went to Hammond Junior College and studied IBM Keypunch. Bonnie is married to Harry Seibert and is a housewife. They have one son, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Bonnie enjoys reading, sewing and quilting.

Pamela Shandel is an imagist and adventuress. She writes and photographs stories, and she plays tournament poker internationally. She has a master’s of professional writing from USC. She was the first of three females to graduate Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College, opening the way for women to become clowns in America. Pamela is finishing her first novel about thriving even if one is not a “normal” kind of person. Pamela loves laughing and celebrations.

Kathryn O. Sharr trained at Hartford Secretarial School in the late 1930s and greatly enjoyed her career as an executive secretary. After raising her two children, she traveled extensively with her husband in the U.S., Europe, and

Central and South America. Kathryn has two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who consider her their “second mom.” She credits her family, friends and faith as sustaining forces in her life.

Lillie Shockney is author of Breast Cancer Survivors’ Club: A Nurse’s Experience and Journey of Hope. She is director of the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. She is a national speaker on this disease and an oncology nurse. E-mail her at [email protected]

Myra Shostak is a writer and teacher with master’s degrees in child development and social work. She is the author of Rainbow Candles: A Chanukah Counting Book. Myra enjoys calligraphy, bookbinding, writing, quilting, working with children and learning new things. She can be reached at [email protected]

Nanci L. Stroupe has been writing for many years and has had numerous stories printed on various Web sites. Three of her stories have been published in Heartwarmers of Love, Half Full and Stories for a Woman’s Heart. She enjoys reading and spending time with her husband, Douglas, of forty-six years, the love of her life. She also enjoys her two daughters, son-in-law and six wonderful grandchildren. She would love to write an inspirational book of her life to give hope when there seems to be none.

An actress, Lolly Susi has worked in London’s West End, on BBC-TV/Radio, and in such films as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Proof and The Jacket. Lolly’s first play was produced by the Hampstead Theatre, and her book about the Central School of Speech and Drama will be published in 2006.

Karen Theis is a hairstylist, wife, mother and two-time cancer survivor. She says, “My stories are my own cancer experiences. I write from my heart. My mission is to reach out and encourage ladies with cancer.” Karen has been awarded the Valley True Award and the Community Builders Award. She speaks to various groups about living a positive life.

Kathy Vancura was raised in Hamtramck, Michigan, along with six brothers and sisters. She currently resides in Orange County, California, with husband Tony and children Christopher (11) and Emily (8). Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 within weeks of her older sister, MaryAnn. Both are now eight-year survivors. E-mail Kathy at [email protected]

Diana von Welenetz Wentworth, a popular public speaker and television host, is the author of many award-winning books and coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook and Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul. Her romantic memoir, Send Me Someone, is soon to be a feature film.

Beverly Vote is a Certified Healing Images specialist. She facilitates workshops that teach how to empower mind, body and spirit for a deeper healing experience. She is completing a program for breast cancer to help women reclaim their healing and feminine spirit. Contact her at [email protected] or

Paula Young received her bachelor of arts from Lone Mountain College and later earned her California teaching credential. She is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of four. Currently retired, she enjoys volunteering in her community, her walking group, needlework and traveling. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Elaine Zalar works in the medical field. Breast cancer has struck six members of her family. She speaks openly about the experience and continues to be an inspiration to her family and friends. She has a son and enjoys traveling with her husband on their Harley. E-mail her at [email protected]

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