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Women praise women who help and heal

2013 Women Helping Women Committee member Kristy Capps pins a corsage on Marcia Caserio, the 41st Woman of Hope honored by the event. 2013 Women Helping Women Committee member Kristy Capps pins a corsage on Marcia Caserio, the 41st Woman of Hope honored by the event.

Gathered to raise money to fight breast cancer, women and men recognized a survivor who in her own fight against cancer exhibited this year's theme of "grace under pressure."

Marcia Caserio, a co-founder of the Women Helping Women fundraiser and a longtime supporter of many health-related causes, was honored Thursday night and again at a luncheon Friday as this year's Woman of Hope. She is a widely known and respected activist in philanthropy, helping the community solve problems and help the needy.

Caserio joined 40 other women the Pardee Hospital Foundation has recognized for overcoming cancer and helping others.
MarciaMarcia Caserio"We have to realize that loss is a part of life," Caserio said. "We never know, but we know that it will happen and what matters most is what we do with it. I choose to see the glass half full. In other words, to say my cup runneth over."
Caserio helped create the organization that helps pay for breast cancer screenings and for treatment for women who have no coverage.
"As we look toward the future I think what we've done here is a remarkable service to all women that care about women," she said. "I feel honored to be a 'woman of hope' but my 81-year-old mother was diagnosed just a couple of months ago with breast cancer, is convalescing and doing well.
"It caused me to think for a moment about the future of what we do. It's not going to be enough to just rescue the people that don't have the resources to get the surgery. If we indeed want to see death from breast cancer and other women's health issues reduced, we have to realize that we are joining the fight with them and the fight should begin before they get sick."

Pardee CEO Jay Kirby praised Caserio, Doris Eklund and Myra Grant for founding Women Helping Women 15 years ago.

"This started I can only imagine around a bridge table, a coffee table or a lunch," he said. "It shows that great things happen when you get great minds together."

This year's event, co-chaired by Greg Burnett, Jan Richards and Amy Treece, exceeded the $130,000 goal. Treece presented a check to Kirby represented the total of more than $140,000.

Women Helping Women has raised $1.6 million and helped more than a thousand women get breast cancer screening, surgery and procedures for cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and other health issues.

Kirby said Caserio expressed a most important point about women's health.

"One sentence said it for me," he said. "When a woman goes down the whole family is threatened."

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