Breast cancer survivors thrive in an evening honoring their journeys - October 26, 2018

Courtesy of Centre Daily Times

Seventy people, seven limousines and seven destinations in Northwest Indiana reminded those who have fought or are fighting breast cancer that they are not alone.

The Educate Create Innovate Entrepreneur Relationships Foundation, or ECIER Foundation, and its supporters hosted the Jubilation fundraiser to honor survivors of breast cancer.

There were 15 breast cancer survivors at the event along with their friends, family and supporters of the fundraiser.

“I think this is beautiful,” Angela Jones of Merrillville said. “I’m not a survivor yet. I’m going through it now and undergoing chemotherapy. It’s beautiful to be around ladies who have either gone through it or are going through it.”

Jones was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and has a fight ahead of her. Being surrounded by other women who have won that fight served as an empowering fellowship.

“The camaraderie, the support, the sharing- they know your trials and tribulations,” Jones said.

This is the fourth year the ECIER Foundation has hosted the event honoring breast cancer survivors, and each year it grows, said Chareice White, founder and chairman of the board for the ECIER Foundation.

“My favorite part of this is that the women get a chance to network with each other and spend time learning about each other and developing new friendships,” White said.

The group started at Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville and were whisked away in a long line of limousines to various spots in the Region.

The dining spots they visited for an evening out were Methodist Hospital, Taste of India, Chicagoland Popcorn, Abuelos Restaurant, Asparagus, Peoples Bank and Albanese Candy Factory. The non-restaurant venues such as Methodist Hospital and Peoples Bank had set up intimate dining spaces and catered food and desserts.

At each location, a survivor shared her story with her group.

Eileen Mason, a nurse and breast cancer survivor of seven years, shared wisdom with the group before they set out to their destinations.

“Right now there’s 3.3 million women that are survivors across the world,” Mason said. “But when I was first diagnosed I thought I was the only one. Hearing the news was devastating. And that’s why it’s so important that you check yourself, that you’re aware of your body.”

The night concluded back at Gamba Ristorante with a candlelight reception and a gift exchange.

White said all of the proceeds will be used for incentives and scholarships for local students and there will also be a donation to the Methodist Hospital Foundation for the Breast Cancer Center to help women who can’t afford mammograms.

“Every year it keeps growing and we get new venues and more women coming together,” White said.