News Releases / 2013
Gold Dust Gala's 'For the Women We Love' on March 23
Camarillo, California, 02/11/2013
Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation's annual Gold Dust Gala is honoring The Women We Love - mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, and friends - the women who help shape our lives and who impact our lives in a profound way.
This year, The Gold Dust Gala will be held in Camarillo at the beautiful Serra Center at 5205 Upland Road. Doors open at 6 p.m. for Silent Auction bidding, cocktails, raffle, and tribute tree. A dinner featuring Command Performance's Classic California Cuisine will be followed by the dance-inspiring music of "Platinum Groove."
For over two decades, the Gold Dust Gala has annually raised funds and awareness for the Healthy Women's Program. This unique program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings to women living in Ventura County who are unable to pay due to lack of insurance or are under-insured.
In 2012, the Healthy Women's Program assisted hundreds of women, specifically offering breast cancer education, screenings and treatment, as well as cervical cancer screenings and vaccinations. All of these services were covered by the Healthy Women's Program, which is funded by the Gold Dust Gala.
Kristen Webb is among the women benefitting from the Healthy Women's Program. The youngest of three sisters, Kristen was only 25 when she tested positive for the BRCA 1 mutation gene following her sister Victoria's breast cancer diagnosis. After a three-year fight, Victoria lost her battle when the disease metastasized to her liver. She died in 2010 at 28 leaving behind a heartbroken family. A year and a half later, Kristen felt a lump and knew immediately what it was.
"I was mortified," Kristen recalled. "I had already lost my sister and I was so hoping I could get some things done in my life. One moment I'm thinking about school and the next I'm thinking about dying."A culinary student, Kristen lacked health insurance and wasn't sure what to do. Moreover, the horrible memory of the inexcusable way her sister was denied care by her insurance company because of her age haunted Kristen. It took Victoria months to get a mammogram and biopsy, followed by several more months to start chemotherapy.
Kristen was referred to the Breast Center at Community Memorial Hospital and was quickly seen. On Sept. 12, 2011 – her late sister's birthday – Kristen's lump was biopsied and her worst fear was confirmed. The following day she met with surgeon Dr. Jim Woodburn; several days later, he performed a double mastectomy.
Thanks to the enormous generosity of individuals and businesses that support the Gold Dust Gala and help fund the unique, life-saving Healthy Women's Program – which does not deny care due to age – Kristen was able to be quickly seen and treated free of charge.
Today, a vibrant and vivacious Kristen is feeling fantastic. Her hair has grown back curly, she's received her associate degree in Culinary Arts and she's began the months-long breast reconstruction process. She's also volunteering with the Gold Dust Gala committee to help raise funds for the program.
"There's no time to sit around. I want to hold onto life so much." That includes hiking, traveling, baking a variety of confections, trying new restaurants with her girlfriend Lei … and now, looking forward to turning 30 in November.
Tickets and sponsorship packages may be purchased on line at www.golddustgala.org or call the Foundation Office at (805) 667-2881.
Community Memorial Hospital is a member of Community Memorial Health System, a not-for-profit health system, which is comprised of Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital and twelve family-practice health centers entitled Centers for Family Health. The health system is located in Ventura, California