When a loved one is suffering from terminal illness, caring for them can be emotionally daunting and exhausting. There’s so much to think about, from medical treatment to day-to-day care. Hamptons-based foundation Lucia’s Angels was formed to help women and families coping with late-stage cancers, with a focus on providing compassion, comfort and practical assistance.
Lucia’s Angels President Stacy Quarty knows first-hand the devastating process of losing a loved one to terminal cancer. “My best friend, Lucia Terzi Bagan, passed from breast cancer,” Quarty recalls. “We were breastfeeding our newborn babies together and she saw the lump. She had it checked out within a week and it was already Stage 4. Her battle with cancer was pretty quick. She struggled for about a year-and-a-half. She got very involved with the local breast cancer coalition, which has now evolved into the Coalition for Women’s Cancers at the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.”
Lucia’s Angels and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers are sister organizations. “We’re reaching a lot more people, and Lucia’s Angels provides funding for all kinds of expenses that are really unique to late-stage cancer patients. People become so sick they can’t work. We help them pay bills, childcare, snow removal, gas, groceries, medical trials that aren’t covered by insurance,” Quarty says. Lucia’s Angels has also been helping support people with dental treatment, as chemotherapy often causes teeth to decay.
The women Lucia’s Angels helps are quite remarkable. Earlier this year, Lucia’s Angels cared for 33-year-old Nikki Abbott, who, despite being in immense pain from her cancer metastasizing to her bones, modeled in the annual bra auction. “She raised a lot of money. The bra she was wearing went for $8,000. Three months later, she passed. That was tough, but we were able to help her and her family, and everyone involved toward the end was grateful for how loved she was.”
Lucia’s Angels is involved in several big fundraisers throughout the year, and the fall is no exception. There are three significant events on October 19 alone—the Shelter Island 5K Walk/Run, Real Men Wear Pink Cocktail Party at The Clubhouse in East Hampton and Love, Loss and What I Wore at Southampton Arts Center.
Caring for these women can be a challenging experience, but it’s worth it for Quarty and the organization. “Every year, we have a couple of our ladies that pass,” Quarty says. “It’s sad and it’s horrifying, but at the same time, we feel so privileged to care for these people in the most important time of their life.” The Lucia’s Angels board members are also trained end-of-life doulas. “The most important times in a person’s life are when they’re born and when they die, and it can be a beautiful and loving experience.”
For more information about Lucia’s Angels, visit luciasangels.org. To help raise money for Lucia’s Angels and other organizations dedicated to fighting breast and women’s cancers, consider participating in the Shelter Island 5K Walk/Run (elitefeats.com), Real Men Wear Pink Cocktail Party (ehitclubhouse.com) and Love, Loss and What I Wore (southamptonartscenter.org).