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April 12 Compassion Tea benefits cancer patients

Ladies in elegant hats (optional), good company and a whole lot of generous spirit are gearing up for this year’s Compassion Tea, benefitting the effort to support area women’s fight against cancer this Saturday, April 12, starting at 2 p.m., at St. Peter’s Parish.

Doreen Koch, both president and CEO of The Pink Project, said that this year, the project has altered its focus.

“This is the Compassion Tea’s seventh year, and we wanted to keep our focus on the community while expanding our reach to all women with cancer, along with the men in their lives who are helping them through it,” she said.

The Pink Project, based in the Columbia Gorge area, works with Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and officials at the MCMC Celilo Cancer Center in The Dalles to provide female patients with care packages which can include everything from comforting heat wraps, fleece blankets, journals, chocolate and gift certificates to a soft teddy bear.

“Anything that can make them feel better,” Koch said. “Because that’s what we’re trying to do. Almost every single one of us working on the project is a survivor or has had someone very close to us who has gone through the disease, so we really do know what it’s like—so of course we want to help.”

When it comes to the acute suffering that women experience at the hands of cancer every day, Koch said, “You can do one of two things — you can stick your head in the sand, or you can stand up and try to make things better, even if it’s little by little.”

All of the responses the Pink Project has received from the recipients of their bags over the years has been “incredibly positive,” Koch said.

“Every year, we just keep wanting to do more,” she laughed. “But of course to do that, we’re going to need the community’s help.”

Koch added that any woman who’s currently suffering from cancer in the area can call her at (541) 298-1602 and the Pink Project will “make sure she receives a bag, if she wants one.”

This year’s Compassion Tea is completely self-catered, featuring homemade pies and all sorts of delicious treats from expert home kitchen artists from around the community.

The popular $100 chocolate basket is putting in another appearance this year in the pool of potential door prize winnings, this time provided by The Dalles’ own The Chocolate Lab.

Other door prizes include glass art by Andy Nichols, gift certificates from The Baldwin and jewelry from J.D. Jewelers.

The tea will also feature a special fashion show courtesy of Lines of Design, while other sponsors include Bonnie C. Ross, Valerie Hivley and Mary’s A’s Tax Service.

While wearing a hat isn’t mandatory, Koch says that it really does lend itself to promoting the fun, communal spirit of the tea and that a prize will be awarded for the best hat at the end of the event.

All tea proceeds go directly towards helping the Pink Project fund their care package program, and will be used to purchase the gifts included in the bags.

The high tea begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 4 p.m. on Saturday and will be held at St. Peter’s Parish Hall . and tickets are available at Klindt’s, but can also be bought by calling her at (541) 298-1602.

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