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Dande Lion’s ‘Breast Buddies’ Fundraiser Raises Funds for Wilma J. Redmond Fund and Inspires Others

By Madison Fisler Lewis

Jane Deavers, Jessica Powell and Linda Vana

Sept 26, 2014. The end of the Dande Lion Breast Buddies fundraiser is on the horizon, and at the end of the month the ladies at the Dande Lion will make a donation of the funds raised to the Wilma J. Redmond Fund at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation.

The fundraiser involves 14 bras set up inside the shop that were decorated by local businesses and organizations. Participants can vote for their favorite bra by placing donations in the container designated for their favorite.

The contest will take place throughout the entire month of September, and a donation will be made on Oct. 1 to the Wilma J. Redmond Fund just in time for the kickoff of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“It all started because my long time friend, who also works here at the Dande Lion, was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Dande Lion owner Jane Deavers.

“We have been friends for 43 years and so we named it ‘Breast Buddies’ because we are best buddies. Linda is a pretty amazing person and I wanted to do something that honored her and what a strong woman she is.”

Linda Vana was diagnosed with breast cancer in early June and finished her treatments on Thursday, Aug. 27. Vana is now on the road to recovery, but in the midst of her diagnosis, she and Deavers decided to help others who faced similar circumstances. The duo settled on the Wilma J. Redmond Fund and the fundraiser has been ongoing for the entire month of September.

On Tuesday, The Dande Lion held a reception to thank those who have already donated to the cause and to inspire others to do the same. Present at the event was Jessica Powell, annual giving coordinator for Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation.

“The fund started in 2002,” Powell said.

“Wilma was our imaging director at Watauga Medical Center for 20 years and she passed away in 2002 after a courageous fight with breast cancer. A fund was established at that time by her friends and family to provide free mammograms for uninsured women over 35 who are getting their first mammogram.”

Finances for the fund are raised mostly through donations and fundraisers.

“Last year we were able to do 164 mammograms,” Powell said. “We are still trying to find out how many we have provided since the fund was started.”

The funds raised by the Dande Lion’s Breast Buddies fundraiser will be donated toward this worthy cause, and will help to ensure that women are given the mammograms that they need for the early detection of breast cancer.

“It is incredible,” Powell said of the Breast Buddies initiative. “They are so supportive and their passion to help other women is contagious. How can you not be inspired by Linda [Vana] and Jane [Deavers] and their passion to help their community and help women who need assistance. I went on Tuesday night and they are just awe-inspiring to me. To take such a personal thing and turn it around and try to help others is an amazing gift and we are very fortunate that we have them supporting us.”

And the unique fundraiser has inspired others to continue the outpouring of support during October, which is also denoted as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When the Breast Buddies Fundraiser ends on Oct. 1, Erick’s Cheese and Wine will pick up the baton and continue with its own fundraiser throughout the month of October.

“We do wine tastings in our store year round,” said Randall Ray, owner of Erick’s Cheese and Wine.

“Every Saturday, we always offer one wine that is higher end that we charge $5 to taste. Proceeds from those tastings go towards a charity and in October we are going to donate the money to the Wilma J. Redmond Fund. We have been doing this type of fundraiser for years for the Avery County Humane Society and have raised thousands of dollars over the years. But next month we thought we would support this cause for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

For more information about the Wilma J. Redmond Foundation, please visit www.apprhs.org. For more information regarding the “Breast Buddies” fundraiser at The Dande Lion, please contact Linda or Jane at 828-898-3566. The Dande Lion is located at The Shoppes at Tynecastle at 4501 Tynecastle Highway in Banner Elk.

The donation of the funds will act as a kick off for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the High Country. In addition, Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation will host Pink Day on Oct. 10 at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital with refreshments, door prizes and raffles. Beautiful Rose Quartz gems will be raffled to benefit the Cancer Center Emergency Fund and the Wilma Redmond Mammography Fund. Raffle tickets are $5 each or $20 for 5 chances. The drawing for all 11 pieces will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 at Watauga Medical Center. You do not need to be present to win. All proceeds benefit the Cancer Center Emergency Fund and the Wilma Redmond Mammography Fund. All Rose Quartz stones were donated by Doc’s Rocks.

For more information about Pink Day, click here.

Photos by Ken Ketchie

Sally Tatum of Grandfather Vineyard and Winery
Summer Hayes of Tatum Gallery
Elyn Wright of Flora Ottimer Children’s Boutique
Mary Ray of Erick’s Cheese and Wine
Carolyn Davis of Mountain Community Bank
Jane Deavers and Linda Vana
The Dande Lion Crew stands under the row of bras