Cancer Awareness Tea Highlights Survivors and the Will to Thrive

The St. Johns River was the perfect backdrop for the 4th annual cancer awareness tea hosted by A Cup of Inspiration at the Riverside Women’s Club.  Attendees were adorned in pink attire, the official color of breast cancer awareness. The event recognizes individuals who are cancer survivors. Event organizer Alicia Whitehurst began the awareness tea after her brother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Although there was no previous family history of cancer, her brother’s diagnosis and his dying words prompted Alicia to promise to help cancer survivors thrive and be recognized.

Since 2012, local celebrities and various companies have come on board to support the annual event. Sponsors donate gift baskets of clothes, hotel stays, restaurant and pamper yourself gift cards to each celebrated survivor. Throughout the year, A Cup of Inspiration continues their mission with stimulated dialogue between cancer resource agencies and the community. In addition, the non-profit partners with One Church, One Child to foster relationships with children that have lost a parent to cancer.

“The goal is to empower cancer survivors and their families. If we can help prevent terminal illness and impart the importance of early detection in at least 100 people per year, then we will have not only met our goal, but know that the message is getting out to the community,” said Alicia. Rounding out the program was speaker corporate executive Eric Mitchell discussing his bout with lung cancer and the importance of early cancer screening and detection. Eric’s words moved the audience to applaud, “I don’t pay attention to cancer. I stay focused on my treatment and am blessed with a family that supports me and makes sure I see my doctor regularly and live each day to the fullest”.

Over 200 family members and friends of cancer survivors attended the tea and witnessed a survivors inspired fashion show, comedy from comedian A-Train, music from the groove coalition and a highly anticipated raffle. Pictured with event organizer Alicia Whitehurst are program commemorated cancer survivors: Lewis Studemire, Velvet Griffin, Tricshone Jiles, Carrie Paige, Jolita Stoney, Katrina Braggs, Traci Chilsom, Stephanie  Melvin, Daisy Cobb, Salomne Fisher, Rose Marie Acosta, Barbara Huffmyer, Eric Mitchell and Kenny Thomas and Sandra Brisbane. Seated is Arwyn Mallory.

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