Friday, October 16, 2009

Flames of Hope

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation teamed up with WaterFire Providence to put together the fourth annual Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life fundraising event. As part of the celebration, the Rhode Island State House is illuminated in pink lights and a torch ceremony brings the flames down to Waterplace Park where pyres of wood are lit throughout the river that runs through the city. Friends Maureen Wheeler, 51 of Attleboro, MA and Carol Piccirilli, 44, of Cranston, RI participated in the torch ceremony for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.

Carol Piccirilli, 44, of Cranston, RI (left) and Maureen Wheeler, 51, of Attleboro, MA walk together to the Flames of Hope ceremony on the front steps of the Rhode Island State House in Providence, RI on Saturday evening. Wheeler participated in the event to celebrate 2 1/2 years without cancer while Piccirilli honored her mother, sister and daughter, all of which have or have had breast cancer. The two met and became friends through Piccirilli’s sister, Lori Brown who writes a column for the Sun Chronicle about her experience living with breast cancer. All three women are active within the Gloria Gemma Resource Foundation.

Maureen Wheeler, 51, of Attleboro, MA (left) and Carol Piccirilli, 44, of Cranston, RI, greet torch bearers participating in the Flames of Hope ceremony for the Gloria Gemma Resource Foundation in Providence, RI on Saturday evening. “I don’t know what I would do without the Gemma Foundation,” Wheeler said. “I don’t have to be afraid…the support and the friends; I never have to be alone.”

Maureen Wheeler, 51, of Attleboro, MA (left) comforts Carol Piccirilli, 44, of Cranston, RI (right) during the Flames of Hope ceremony at the Rhode Island State House in Providence, RI on Saturday evening. Carol’s sister, Lori Brown was planning on attending the event, but was not feeling up to the task due to a relapse of breast cancer after 5 years cancer-free. Both women, who became friends though Brown, were participating in the torch ceremony to honor her. All three women met and became friends though a program the Gloria Gemma Resource Foundation provides where those affected by cancer write their stories into books.

Maureen Wheeler, 51, of Attleboro, MA (left) waits for her friend Carol Piccirilli, 44, of Cranston, MA (back, right) to meet up with her during the procession from the Flames of Hope ceremony at the Rhode Island State House to the WaterFire ceremony at Waterplace Park in Providence, RI. “[Having cancer] have given me a new look on life. I’m allowing myself to be myself, stepping out of my comfort zone,” Wheeler said. Wheeler was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage 1 breast cancer at age 49 and did not think she would live to see her grandson. Her grandson is 2 years old and Wheeler’s cancer has been in remission for 2 1/2 years.

Maureen Wheeler, 51, of Attleboro, MA (left), her husband, Steve Wheeler, 52, (back, center), and Carol Piccirilli, 44 of Cranston, RI (right) carry their torches from the Flames of Hope ceremony at the Rhode Island State House down Francis Street in Providence, RI to the WaterFire ceremony at Waterplace Park on Saturday evening. The ceremony helped raise funds for the Gloria Gemma Resource Foundation and honored survivors and those battling with breast cancer. The two friends are active in the foundation’s book writing club where the write down their experiences living with breast cancer.

1 comment:

ska said...

O my goodness - this is beautiful!!

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