Circle of Hope, City of Hope recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A conga line of women clap and dance to the song "Celebration" as they weave through the tables to begin the program during the 13th annual Circle of Hope Afternoon Tea event held at Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Local groups that work to combat cancer are emphasizing their efforts during October in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Santa Clarita’s nonprofit Circle of Hope is inviting the community to their 14th annual tea party on Saturday to raise funds and awareness of the work they are doing to help locals with cancer.

Fundraising for patients

“It has always been about recognizing breast cancer, talking about awareness and acknowledging those in the room who have suffered from cancer,” Circle of Hope’s Executive Director Pam Ripling said.

Held each October, the “Tea for Two: A Tribute to Our Favorite Twosomes” event welcomes about 200 guests and will feature 27 themed tables varying from Tarzan and Jane to Harley Quinn and The Joker.

The tea originally started in the founder’s backyard and has only grown since. Holding the event annually allows guests to stay updated on the work Circle of Hope is doing to care for their clients.

Though discussing cancer is serious, Ripling said the event is upbeat and encouraging.

“We hope people feel really good that Santa Clarita has an organization that is helping cancer patients here,” Ripling said.

Becoming aware

Guest speaker Dr. Dortha Chu, a breast cancer surgeon specialist at the cancer treatment center for the City of Hope in Santa Clarita, actively advocates for awareness and will share about advances in the fight against breast cancer at the event.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting one in eight, and the third most common type of cancer overall.

Many more women who get breast cancer are surviving it than they used to, according to Chu. Women who detect their breast cancer while it is still in the first stage have a 95 percent chance of surviving and even those who do not catch it until the fourth stage have a 50 percent chance of survival.

“Surviving it has become much more realistic and much more widespread,” Chu said.

This is greatly in part because treatments have become more individualized.

Chu is most excited about advances in cancer genomics, or studying the genes within cancer cells, allowing physicians to make a better and more specific treatment plans for patients.

“We are continuing the message of hope,” she said. “I am so excited about what I’m a part of.”

Because there are no known ways to prevent it, Chu said detection is key. She hopes this changes in the next few years with further advances toward prevention.

Chu encourages the community to talk with their health care providers about next steps and only rely on internet information from reputable health care organizations.

She also advocates for annual mammograms and monthly self-examinations. Self-exams are not meant for women to “find anything,” but to familiarize themselves with what is normal for them so they can tell when something is different, according to Chu.

Attending the event

Alongside the tea, there will be scones, muffins and tea sandwiches. Guests can also participate in the silent auction and enjoy music, a magician and entertainment.

Brighton Collectables will have their “Power of Pink” bracelet available at the event and a portion of proceeds will go to Circle of Hope.

Tickets are $65 each and all proceeds will go directly to paying medical bills for Santa Clarita residents who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The event will be held at Sand Canyon Country Club from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 7.

For men who wish to attend, there will be a separate Stars and Stripes Forever table for males only that will serve hamburgers.

Limited spots are available. To purchase a ticket, visit

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