23 Aug 2014
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Las Palomas Tackle Women's Cancer

Luncheon Monday at the Opera House unveiled spring and summer collections for Los Gatos fashionistas Claire Farwell and Jennifer Croll and supported nonprofit Sense of Security California.

Self-employed Campbell hairdresser Barbara Lund, 45, was diagnosed Nov. 14, 2011 with stage-2 breast cancer after going for a check-up when she discovered a lump.

On Jan. 17, she underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction and began chemotherapy at the end of February. 

She expects to finish chemo June 1. She's gone through three chemo treatments so far and has five more to go every other week at Santa Teresa Kaiser Permanente.

The mother of one, who works at VE Salon in Campbell, said the nonprofit Sense of Security California has helped her pay for family groceries during her treatments.

"The prognosis for my cancer is good because it's treatable," she said.

On Monday afternoon, Lund was accompanied by best friend owner of Los Gatos Kiss'Tique fashion boutique, who's also a breast cancer survivor.

The women were among more than 150 friends who convened at the Los Gatos to enjoy the monthly luncheon of the

The event featured the unveiling of the spring and summer collections for Los Gatos fashionistas Claire Farwell and _and supported Sense of Security California, whose mission is to help meet the non-medical financial needs of residents distressed due to being patients in treatment for breast, ovarian and other gynecological cancers.

Cathy Sisneros Chung, executive director of Sense of Security California, said the luncheon raised money to put food on the table for women who are in treatment for their cancers and help with hospital transportation expenses and insurance premiums to continue treatment.

"We try to help where other organizations cannot," Sisneros Chung said.

In 2011, the nonprofit served 30 women and this year, it hopes to help as many as 50 women with amounts up to $500 a month for six months during a 12-month period. The amount given is based on the patient's needs, she said.

The women are referred to the organization by social workers at area hospitals.

Sisneros Chung said her sister has been battling breast cancer for more than 11 years. Her niece's mother died last week of breast cancer and her husband's first wife died of ovarian cancer at 45.

"Neither of these women needed the financial assistance. They were lucky that they had great insurance and financial backing, but in the process we have encountered many women who are worrying about paying their utility bill or paying their child care or how to get to treatment while in the chemo room doing radiation. We know this is a real unmet need," she said.

Los Gatos resident Lisa Carroll, who attended the event, praised Las Palomas for giving local women the chance to get together and make a difference by donating money to a worthwhile charity.

The organization struck a chord with Carroll, whose mother was diagnosed with stage-3 ovarian cancer and lived for four years after diagnosis.

Las Palomas co-founder Claire Farwell encouraged the women to get mammograms, PAP smears and take care of their health.

And Croll, who also co-founded Las Palomas, showcased 35 pieces of clothing as part of her 2012 spring/summer collection. She designed each one and Julie Tanner sewed them.

The clothes will also be shown during a fashion show for the Junior League of San Jose next month. Croll said she plans to open a small boutique in the back room of and online.

"I'm really excited," Croll said. "Everything is supposed to be made to go in your suitcase and wear wherever you go, whether it's traveling, or business or going on vacation. They're fun pieces that go where your lifestyle is."

Croll described the clothes as livable, the fun prints selected by her. A percentage of the clothing sale Monday also went to Sense of Security California.

A $55 ticket gave $25 to the charity, $25 to the restaurant and $5 toward administrative costs. Some women bought $75 runway tickets so more money went to a Sense of Security California.

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