By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
Your Subtitle text

Photos by Juan Carlo/Ventura County Star

Cancer Support Community presents

Evening of Hope Celebration of Life Gala


After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, Gail Lemberger moved forward at the Cancer Support Community through programs that offered discussion, exercise and support, as well as social events and education.

“It was very beneficial to me to meet other cancer survivors,” said the Newbury Park homemaker, who has volunteered with the Cancer Support Community in the Westlake Village area since 2008.

Lemberger’s cancer returned in 2009 and metastasized to her liver.

“Thankfully, I am very fortunate to be able to say that my latest scan showed no evidence of disease,” she said.

Volunteer Gail Lemberger (left) and Jessica Gavlik, operations manager, work on the Celebration of Life Gala floor plan at the Cancer Support Community. Lemberger is one of three individuals and one company that will be honored during the group’s gala.

On May 2, she will receive the Celebration of Life Award at the Cancer Support Community’s Evening of Hope Celebration of Life Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village.

Considered one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the organization, the night will include entertainment, dinner and a live auction.

Lemberger is among three individuals who will be honored for making an impact through their work with the Cancer Support Community.

One company, Amgen Inc., will equally receive the Celebration of Philanthropy award as a founding member of the Cancer Support Community that has supported the organization for 23 years.

For Lemberger, it is very rewarding to know she is appreciated.

“This is definitely not something I expected and it is not why I volunteer,” Lemberger said. “Accepting any kind of praise is not something that comes easy for me, so this kind of recognition is amazing and gives my life meaning.”

Mai Brooks, a surgical oncologist and general surgeon practicing in Thousand Oaks, will receive the Celebration of Excellence award.

“This award is so meaningful to me, and is such a great honor,” said Brooks, a member of the Cancer Support Community’s professional advisory board, which presents educational seminars to cancer patients and their families, helps identify speakers for educational workshops and refers patients for support.

Volunteer Gail Lemberger works on office duties and event preparations at the Cancer Support Community. Lemberger will receive the group’s Celebration of Life Award.

“My work gives my life meaning,” Brooks said. “I feel so privileged that my training provided me with some skills that I can use to help people.”

A cancer diagnosis is shocking and devastating, Brooks said. “The Cancer Support Community provides a safe place where patients and families find out they are not alone in their fight against cancer.”

Lynn Buchanan, a two-time breast cancer survivor and five-year volunteer at the organization, will receive the Celebration of Hope award.

Diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer 25 years ago, Buchanan was diagnosed again in 2012 with stage 2.

“Hope holds a lot of meaning in the world of cancer,” said Buchanan, of Newbury Park. “From hope, you can find the strength to face the diagnosis head-on. ... I am humbled to know I am viewed as a symbol of hope.”

Buchanan has been a docent for the annual holiday homes tour fundraiser, co-chaired the Celebration of Life Gala and participated in the speakers’ bureau.

“There isn’t a person in our community who isn’t touched by cancer,” Buchanan said. “The Cancer Support Community is exactly what we need to gain back control of the steering wheel of our lives after something deadly took it away and wasn’t going to give it back.”

© 2014 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Website Builder