Cancer resource expo provides support

From left to right, Fadi Alsarhan and Pauline Aghamalian, both biology majors at College of the Canyons, talk to Volunteer Maria Dunleauy about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Sunday at a previous CARE SCV expo at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center. Samie Gebers | Signal file photo

College of the Canyons Professor Dr. Kelly Cude was instrumental in the organization of CARE SCV, a free cancer awareness and resource expo that took place at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on Saturday. Her goal was to support, educate and help people in every stage of life and cancer.

And that has been her goal since she was nine years old.

“I remember my grandpa not looking well,” Cude said. “He was trying to smile but he was just not his joking, normal self,”

Cude remembers celebrating her birthday at her grandparents house and noticing that her grandpa was acting different. A week later, he was diagnosed with melanoma and passed away soon after.

From then on, Cude’s goal was to find a cure for cancer.

“I’ve never wavered,” Cude said.

Cude found a need for Santa Clarita to have a cancer awareness and resource event after realizing that cancer patients felt helpless and lacked crucial information.

“Sometimes we know the difference between fact and fiction,” Cude said. “A lot of places on the internet has false information and we wanted to allow a place where people can get  more accurate facts.”

The event featured 11 speakers delivering presentations on various issues related to the disease, such as diet, treatment, detection and more.

On top of the presentations, the event featured 30 booths that represented cancer non-profits and major healthcare providers.

Cathleen McGraw, volunteers on Sunday athe the Care SCV expo at the Look Good… Feel Better booth, a non-profit organization that helps women combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“Our motto is ‘everything you need to prevent, treat and survive cancer,’ so we’re trying to cover all aspects,” Cude said.

Sandy Ends, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and a 17-year breast cancer survivor, worked the event on Saturday. She wanted to give back after she received what she called “luck.”

“It’s a matter of giving back and paying forward,” Ends said.

Many attendees found the expo to have a personal aspect attached to it, such as sisters Breeanna Towles and Heather Hilmer.

“We’ve had multiple family members that have had cancer or passed away from cancer,” Hilmer said.

Students explore an inflatable lung used to educate the public about lung cancer at the CARE SCV expo at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“It’s not just a personal disease. It effects the entire family,” Towels said.

Cude hopes to show individuals and families struggling with cancer that there is still hope to look towards.

“This is cancer and we have hope,” Cude said.

“Look to the positive things. Look to the amazing accomplishments that have taken place here in the last 10 years.

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