By Robb Murray
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — For the follow-up year to a successful debut, organizers of the Journey of Healing event Friday at Madison East Center hope to get both more focused, and more general.
Coordinator Denise Southwick, owner of the Silhouette Shoppe, said the feedback they received from event-goers last year showed that people wanted vendors that were specific to the cause at hand — cancer. This is, as the event’s subtitle says, “an evening of entertainment, education and empowerment for individuals affected by cancer.”
At the same time, though, they wanted a broader scope. Last year, there was a focus on breast cancer, which made sense because the Silhouette Shoppe outfits women who have had mastectomies with prosthetics.
This year, though, there will be many different kinds of cancer represented. Southwick said they did some research to find the top 12 cancers in terms of numbers of cases. They’re hoping to have them all represented among the vendor area. Some will be very represented, such as colon cancer.
A colon cancer awareness group from the Twin Cities is coming down and bringing with it a colon replica that is quite enlarged.
“It’s a super-sized colon,” Southwick said. “You can walk through it.”
Some things will remain the same as last year’s event.
The Mary Guentzel Quintet will perform again (a fitting musical act as Guentzel works in the Andreas Cancer Center). And you’ll still be able to get a glass of wine.
There will be what Southwick calls a hands-on learning area with mini massages, Rasmussen nursing students doing blood pressure checks, Andrews Chiropractic doing evaluations and the American Cancer Society doing something called “look good, feel good,” where they help women going through cancer treatments with make-up advice.
Vendor tables this year will be more cancer specific, including dietitians, medical personnel and a radon specialist.
Funds raised through the sale of food and donations will go to the Journey of Healing Fund, which will be used to help people with cancer-related costs that aren’t covered by health insurance, such as rides to chemotherapy treatments or groceries.
“It’s a big need,” Southwick said. “I had a mother stop in and she’d heard of our event. Her son is young and he’s on his own. He has cancer and he won’t have insurance until next month. In the meantime, he’s got bills piling up.”
The Journey of Healing is 5:30- 8 p.m. Friday at Madison East Center.