20th Annual Celebrate Wellness Food and Wine Tasting-Fundraiser for Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach

The 20th Annual Celebrate Wellness Food and WineTasting was held on June 26, 2016 at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes.  The fundraiser supports the Redondo Beach Cancer Support Community.  This was a tremendously successful event with a silent auction which included Adele concert tickets, an autographed Eagles guitar, and a Rancho Mirage Estate vacation, plus a live auction.  There were also many sponsors, restaurants, breweries, and wineries who contributed their services. Attendees included cancer survivors and their loved ones who have utilized the programs offered by the Cancer Support Community Organization.  I had an opportunity to speak with Judith Opdahl, the Executive Director of the organization.  “The Cancer Support Community was founded in 1987 to help cancer patients and their families as an adjunct to medical treatment.  Today we have over 165 programs a month including serving all the kids in the family.  Our services are for the entire family, and everything we do is free of charge.”  She also shared how the charity funds would be allocated.  “This event is our major fundraiser, and we raise half of our budget on fundraisers.  This will go to help all the free programs we offer.  The types of programs we have are two hour support groups for the cancer patient, and the family meets separately because everyone has their own sets of issues going through cancer, and then there is the kid’s community.  We also have networking groups about specific cancers, educational programs, nutrition, six exercise programs a week, so it’s everything that helps a person face this awful disease of cancer.”  

It’s wonderful that the organization gets to be solely funded by fundraisers such as this event, individual, and corporate donors. They have been providing free programs to cancer patients and their families for 29 years!  This is incredible to know there are programs available that can give you the confidence to receive love and support during this difficult time.  There are classes such as yoga, relaxation, meditation, pain management, low impact cardio, tai chi, nutrition, individual & group therapy sessions by licensed social workers, and networking groups for the specific cancer.  There are awesome classes for healing and mind-body wellness, eliminating the financial burden of paying for any of them.  This does a tremendous benefit for a person who is going through cancer, giving them a sense of purpose and connection.  Family members who are experiencing stress also get the support needed to cope with the illness. These programs are extremely therapeutic to the mind and body and will contribute immensely to the person’s recovery.  


Silent Auction Tables

 A heartwarming speech was given by cancer survivor Deb Patrick who lost her husband to esophical cancer, and her sister and stepmother were diagnosed with breast cancer. Several months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer and spoke of how meaningful the counseling sessions and other programs offered her in the fight against cancer.  The tears could be heard through her voice and the inspirational message of what a difference Cancer Support Community can have in one's life.



Food Vendors

Opdahl spoke of expansion of the program, "There are 48 affiliates throughout the country, in Tel Aviv, Japan, and Canada, but most of it is throughout the United States.  There are cancer support communities in Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Thousand Oaks.  Our community covers 18 cities and we have a service area in Orange County that we hope to expand to."  Currently Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach offers 160 free programs a month for people with cancer and their family members.

The Mission of Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.  Please contact (310) 376-3550 for more information or visit their website at: Cancer Support Redondo Beach

Photos By: Tania Godfrey

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