Project hits home

Woman diagnosed with breast cancer while working on fundraiser

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While making a bra for the Bust of Steamboat fundraiser for breast cancer awareness, Deborah Sherman-Hurst was diagnosed with a recurrence of the disease.

It was early October when she felt the lump. This week, she went to Yampa Valley Medical Center for surgery.

Bust of Steamboat auction and fundraiser for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project

5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28; bras are on display in bank lobbies across Steamboat Springs through Thursday

Three Peaks Grill, 2165 Pine Grove Road

/ $25 in advance; $30 at the door; includes hors d'oeurves and first drink; available at All That Jazz and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore

/ 871-7907

"I was supposed to volunteer (at the Bust of Steamboat), but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it," she said.

Even as she knew breast cancer had returned to her body after a year in remission, Sherman-Hurst sat with her co-workers for an afternoon to finish the bra they started for the Bust of Steamboat.

The bra, titled "Sweet Mammories," is black with pink embroidered flowers. It is attached to a picture frame, and the cups are filled with pink and white lifesavers. The background holds four photos of women who have or are battling breast cancer, including a photo of Sherman-Hurst.

"A lot of emotion went into (that bra)," she said. Rose Reynolds, Shelley Parsons, Amanda Beck, Keri Ruckman and Sherman-Hurst, all co-workers at Yampa Valley Dental and Associates, made the bra one morning at Sherman-Hurst's home in Craig. "The whole idea that we did this together was important to me."

The 25 bras created for the Bust of Steamboat are on display in bank lobbies across town through Thursday. "Sweet Mammories" is on display at Bank of the West on Lincoln Avenue.

The bra was sponsored by the owners of Yampa Valley Dental, Drs. James and Wendy McCreight.

"This is our first year sponsoring a bra, and I don't know why we didn't do it before," James McCreight said. "We decided we had to do this for Deb and for all the women with breast cancer and all the survivors.

"As a team, it's been really sad to know what Deb is going through. You feel more passionate when it hits close to home. The good news is we have a local organization to help."

All money raised at the Bust of Steamboat is used by the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project to provide financial assistance to local women with breast cancer. The 2004 Bust of Steamboat raised $21,000. That money paid for 25 mammograms and several biopsies, stereotactics and doctor visits. It provided funds for 21 women to pay for gas and other travel expenses for women who needed treatment in Denver and was used to host a monthly cancer-support group luncheon for survivors, patients and their families. The remainder of the money not spent on educational materials was used to purchase a comfortable recliner designed especially for chemotherapy patients. The chair is now in the chemotherapy room at Yampa Valley Medical Center, Bust of Steamboat chairwoman Debbie Curd said.

Sherman-Hurst was a recipient of money from the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project during her first bout with cancer.

"I went to the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Denver for radiation," Sherman-Hurst said. "I had housing available through my aunt and uncle, but I had to drive 40 miles to get there. Jan Fritz sent me a Christmas card, and when I opened it up, there was a check. That money helped me pay for gas."

Sherman-Hurst is 44. She had her first mammogram at 35 and another at 40. Microcalcifications were discovered during that second mammogram.

"Each time, my cancer was discovered in a different ways," she said. "The first time was through a mammogram. The second time was through a self-exam. Women need to be very aware of their bodies. Know your breast tissue so that when there is a chance, you won't ignore it."

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