most cancers in 1997 and died shortly after. Cunningham created the group to assist most cancers sufferers and their households.
“I simply felt a presence in my room someday, and (Candice) stated to do one thing constructive with (her) loss of life. I felt that there was nothing in the neighborhood for most cancers sufferers,” she stated. “I simply wished a homelike environment for most cancers sufferers and their households.
So we began 19 years in the past. … I by no means thought in my wildest desires we’d be right here 19 years later.”
Initially, Cunningham thought to do one thing involving train as a fundraiser for the group, since she was aware of athletic occasions as a health teacher. From there, she stated the varied occasions snowballed and grew into the fashion show, which has been a staple within the group for the previous eight years.
Though she’s relocated to the Pittsburgh space to be nearer to her daughter, Cunningham usually travels to Wilkes-Barre to help with occasions for Sweet’s Place and go to sufferers.
She is grateful to the neighborhood for all of the assist that’s been given. As a nonprofit, Sweet’s Place runs solely on fundraising and donations, with proceeds from the fashion show and different occasions going again into affected person care. At present, solely two staff are paid by the group, with the remainder of the employees serving on a volunteer foundation.
All through the occasion, key phrases like “household,” “bond” and “assist” had been commonplace, however one group specifically gave these phrases a complete new that means.
Sitting at a again desk, Lori Ostrowski, Jessica Tribbet and Lynne Brensha had been ending lunch as they waited for the fashion show to start. The trio attended final yr’s show — some even modeling in it — however all three famous one huge distinction on this yr’s occasion.
“We sat on the identical desk final yr, and sitting collectively this yr we realized that each one three of us had been bald final yr,” Tribbet stated. “And that’s one thing that this affords us; a spot the place we are able to unite. It’s an exquisite place the place we are able to come and have fun a yr later, the three of us sitting right here subsequent to one another with our personal hair. To have the ability to sit right here, wholesome and in good spirit — that’s a miracle.”
The trio stated that whereas they’re not associated by blood, they're a household of their very own, sharing in every’s trials and triumphs.
Brensha agreed with Tribbet, explaining that Sweet’s Place gave her counseling and assets after she was identified with most cancers when she and her household didn’t know what to do subsequent. For Ostrowski, she discovered the group after being identified with breast most cancers in 2016. She modeled in final yr’s fashion show.
“I began going to Sweet’s Place for various kinds of assist. I'm so grateful that Sweet’s Place exists, and I'd do something to assist them,” she stated.