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Circle of Hope announces 2010 Warrior Princesses

Fundraiser: Walk for Hope 5K will be held April 17 at Castaic Lake

Posted: March 6, 2010 10:20 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Colleen Shaffer (center, in pink) is the founder of Circle of Hope breast cancer support group in the Santa Clarita Valley. The 2010 Princesses of Hope, left to right, Princess of Diligence Dorothy Johnson, Princess of Heart Dina Bennett, Princess of Spirit Linda Ludwig.

This year's Warrior Princess Court spans three generations. From a 40-something to a 70-years-young, from a ministering family to a red-hot singer. Each of this year's clients learned of the services Circle of Hope provides from nurses and doctors in various medical offices, including the University of California, Los Angeles oncology department in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Following are the stories of the Warriors who are representing Circle of Hope this year and will be at the Walk for Hope 5K to be held Saturday, April 17 at Castaic Lake.

Each Warrior Princess tells her story in her own words.

Dorothy Johnson
"I'm a three-time breast cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed in 1985, again in 1999 and the third time in 2007. There have been a lot of challenges during these times besides the physical ones.

"I've been blessed with a supportive family, I'm especially grateful for the love of my grandchildren, Nicholas and Holly. My family keeps a positive outlook and is always there when I need them.

"I'm proud to say that I'm the matriarch of the Warrior Princess Court.

"At 70 I'm feeling stronger each day. I found Circle of Hope through my oncologist's office and have been very fortunate to now have the support of an amazing organization. They were able to assist me in obtaining my cancer medicines when my insurance had maxed out. Colleen Shaffer (founder of Circle of Hope) has also called me to see how I was doing and Circle of Hope sent a beautiful basket of goodies at Christmas time. I'm very happy I found Circle of Hope and wish them all the best as they assist others in a position like mine."

Dina Bennett
"Since moving to Los Angles more than 20 years ago, I've worked as a professional singer and performer and have been lucky enough to tour the country and the world with many different shows and bands. Making a living as a performer has been terribly exciting and wonderful, but it is rarely steady work and as soon a one job ends, the search for the next job begins.

"Dealing with such an uncertain life is difficult enough, but being diagnosed with breast cancer created a situation I was unable to handle on my own.

"I've begun chemotherapy, will undergo surgery and am looking toward at least a year's worth of medical treatment to fight the cancer. The hard-earned health insurance I gained from working many musical theater jobs this year was scheduled to end at the same time my last performing job ended and the thought of purchasing health insurance while having cancer terrified me.

"Unable to physically continue my usual performing jobs due to treatment, I turned to Circle of Hope to help me find a way to meet the financial hardships I now face due to mounting medical costs and lack of work. They have become the spark at the end of a long tunnel for me - providing help with my insurance premiums and doctor co-pays.

I can sleep much easier knowing that I will be able to afford my treatment in Santa Clarita and can focus my attention on staying as healthy as possible and getting well. Thank you Circle of Hope."

Linda Ludwig
"My journey with breast cancer began on a cold December day in 1996, with a call from my doctor stating that my mammogram was highly suspicious. This journey has taken me through a lumpectomy, a mastectomy with a free flap reconstruction, and many chemo sessions. I am a homemaker and have had the opportunity to home-school our three children - Sarah, Daniel, and Justin - for 16 years. My husband, Dave, is in full-time ministry with a nonprofit organization called Quest.

"In November of 2005, I began a new chapter in my journey with the news that my cancer had returned. It had traveled into my abdominal cavity.

"Though I have found that God's grace is sufficient and I find great comfort in Him, I also very quickly realized how very expensive it is to battle this awful disease. I'm very grateful to Circle of Hope, as they have graciously chosen to help us close the gap between what the insurance will cover and the cost of my treatments. God uses many means to bring us comfort.

For me, one of them has been the financial and emotional support that the Circle of Hope has given."

2010 Walk for Hope
Circle of Hope's sixth annual Walk for Hope 5K will be held Saturday, April 17 at Castaic Lake. Families, teams, and even dogs can join in the fun and enjoy a walk along the shores of Castaic Lake.

Attendees and/or your dog can stroll for an hour, you can do a 5-K. Pre-registered humans get a dark green T-shirt and the pooches get a pink ribbon neck bandana. Preregistration is $25 for humans and $5 per dog (must be on a leash), or $35 and $5 after April 1. Teams of five or more get a $5-per-person discount.

Attendees will vote for five favorite vehicles in the Peoples Choice Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show along the route of the 5K. And there will be a special honor for the top three fundraising Teams.

Day-of registration starts at 8 a.m. As always Fitness Edge Boot Camp will be on hand to lead everyone in a fun warm-up before the walk.

After the walk, enjoy more of the car show, several vendors, and gather information from other local non-profits. Hungry? There will be a BBQ lunch by The Friends of Castaic Lake priced at $5. The Circle of Hope Warrior-Princess Court will reward walkers who finish the course with a memento at the finish line.

Proceeds benefit Circle of Hopes breast cancer clients receiving medical financial aid who live, work, or receive treatment in the SCV. Vendor opportunities and vehicle entries are still available.

Share the day of hope. Contact Circle of Hope at (661) 254-5218, or go online to register:


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