Talk about supporting sisters in battle.
To understand how the Eighth Annual Reconstructed Bra Fashion Show & Auction at the Southampton Social Club at 7 PM on May 17 blossomed to life, flashback 16 years when foundation president Stacy Quarty was a new mother breast feeding in the sunroom of her Southampton home alongside her best friend and brand-new mom, Lucia Terzi Bagan.
“That’s when Lucia first discovered a lump in her left breast,” said Quarty, a mother of two girls. “We both thought it was probably just a cyst. It turned out not to be a cyst. It was a malignant Stage 4 tumor, and from that day on, Lucia waged a brave fight for her life.”
The dark irony is that her breast cancer and the great organization named for her began as Lucia fed a mother’s milk of life into the mouth of a brand-new baby girl.
“What I soon learned was that [the rates of] women’s cancers on the East End of Long Island are much higher than the national average,” said Quarty. “I believe it has everything to do with the pesticides used on crops, and for ticks and mosquitoes, seeping through the soil and into the water table here on the East End of this island where we live and raise our children.”
So deeply scary is the local tap water to Stacy Quarty that her family drinks only bottled water. “I even cook with bottled water,” she says.
Quarty stood by her BFF Lucia through her full-scale war on her breast cancer. But, alas, two-and-a-half years after discovering that lump, Lucia Terzi Bagan raged her last in her battle against the dying of the light and went not very gentle into that good night.
But Stacy Quarty has made sure that Lucia’s good night was not a goodbye. It was the beginning of Lucia’s Angels, which has a mission statement as clear as a battle hymn: “Lucia’s Angels is a foundation committed to helping women and families on Eastern Long Island with late-stage women’s cancers including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer.”
And listen up, guys: This war effort is obviously not just about women. This war is for the mothers who gave us life. It’s about our grandmas, our aunts, our sisters, teachers, friends, neighbors, girlfriends, wives, and our precious daughters and granddaughters. This fight against this insidious disease that touches us all somewhere between the womb and tomb cuts across gender, political, racial, and ethnic, age, and socio-economic lines.
“Lucia’s Angels started as just a breast cancer organization,” said Quarty. “It was created in loving memory of Lucia, who gave so much of herself, her time, her concern to others. She had a big heart and we wanted her heart to keep on beating. So, we’ve expanded the scope of the foundation to all women’s cancers because they are all so pervasive in this East End community and are part of the same endless fight. People just need medical, emotional, and sometimes financial or physical support.”
Quarty is the president of Lucia’s Angels but says she could not make it the success it has become without the tireless work of Vice President Susan Barry Roden.
“This foundation works in coordination with our sister organization, the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at Southampton Hospital,” says Quarty. “We want to bring awareness and political pressure about the causes of and research into women’s cancers. But we also want to help people from Riverhead to Montauk with practical day-to-day issues that the medically uninsured face, issues that those with coverage encounter, crucial things the insurance companies do not cover. Things like gasoline gift cards, grocery gift cards, heating bills. Chemotherapy destroys teeth but you have no idea how big an issue dental work is with cancer patients whose insurance does not cover dental. So, Lucia’s Angels helps women with dental issues.”
Lucia’s Angels also helps cancer patients with housecleaning, rent, eyeglasses, babysitting, heating bills, health insurance premiums, automobile repair, ambulatory trips, therapeutic massage, transportation, salon services, and all-important wigs.
Imagine a woman’s self-esteem if she can’t afford a dentist or a quality wig after losing her hair and teeth in the hand-to-hand battle against the monster attacking her womanhood from within.
That’s when you need a guardian angel; that’s when you need Lucia’s Angels.
“This all costs money,” says Quarty. “So, we rely on fundraisers, like the Reconstructive Bra Fashion Show and Auction, which offers a great fashion show, a live bra auction, an open bar, and high-end appetizers, and where your donation goes to help women waging the good fight against cancer. Tickets can be purchased online at www.luciasangels.org for $55 or $65 at the door.”
Where else in the Hamptons are you getting a night like that for that price? Knowing it’s going to arm the foot soldiers on the front line in the war against women’s cancers?
I don’t know anyone whose family or circle of friends has not been touched by the long monstrous finger of women’s cancer. A night out of fun and laughs and drinks and nosh in this wonderful thing called life jabs a defiant finger back in the monster’s unforgiving eye.
So, come out and get on the side of the angels by supporting the good fight against women’s cancers on the East End with Lucia’s Angels.
Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to: Lucia’s Angels, 10 Oak Street, Southampton, NY 11968
General information: [email protected]. Phone: 631-204-9331.