Thursday, November 12, 2015

Family parades together for To Celebrate Life

Husband, wife and daughter model with other breast cancer survivors to raise money 

It was a family affair, what President John F. Kennedy might have called a combination profile in courage.

It involved Thomas R. Mautner; his wife, Cheryl Rose Mautner; and their daughter. Victoria Mautner Zemrak.

All three participated in a recent San Rafael "evening of enchantment" that marked the 20th anniversary of the Marin County nonprofit, the To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation.

The trio "stepped out" by modeling on the runway of the organization's annual fundraising fashion show of breast cancer survivors.

They were among the 31 who paraded at the event, which also included live and silent auctions, entertainment and dancing.

Tom Mautner
Tom Mautner was the only male to model this year.

He'd had a mastectomy on Feb. 14, 2002 — "a terrible way to spend Valentine's Day," he was quoted in the event's program — after being diagnosed and informed he was part of the 1 percent of breast cancer patients that are male.

Two years later, Victoria was diagnosed at age 34.
Victoria Mautner Zemrak

The mother of five was found to have two types of breast cancer (and a cyst) in her right breast. She underwent a lumpectomy, followed by a mastectomy when more cancer was found in the margins. Reconstructive surgery came last year after treatments of chemotherapy, Herceptin and tamoxifen.

"God, family and friends were my solid rock through all the hard times," she's said. "I couldn't have made it without them."

Cheryl last year had radiation after her surgery
Cheryl Mautner

The mother of three, grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of three gratefully noted in the program that "My husband…was and is always by my side."

The Sebastopol couple has been married 47 years.

The motto of To Celebrate Life, whose mission is to "raise funds and grant financial assistance to nonprofit organizations [in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area] that provide services and support to people living with breast cancer," is succinct:

"No one should face breast cancer alone. With your help, no one will."

Since its inception, To Celebrate Life has given more than $4 million to fund emergency and direct services for breast cancer patients.

So far.

To learn where to contact agencies and organizations like To Celebrate Life that can help breast cancer patients, their partners and families, I, Woody Weingarten, urge you to check out my book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," which is aimed at male caregivers.

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