Elizabeth Fry was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003.
âWhile I was undergoing treatment in 2004 and in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, I had conversations with other women who were undergoing treatment,â said the woman from Vacaville. âAnd I found out that there were a lot of women who were really in pain, not only battling breast cancer, but also having financial hardship where they couldn’t keep their electricity, couldn’t stay in their homes, or couldn’t keep their electricity. apartment, just very stressful.
âThere was a woman whose husband left as soon as he found out she had breast cancer. So I tried to find a silver lining. I decided to create a foundation against breast cancer, taking a tragic situation to try to turn it for good and help people.
Out of this desire was born the Solano Midnight Sun Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that promotes breast health, screening and early detection.
To date, Midnight Sun has sponsored more than 600 diagnostic screenings for underinsured women and has helped more than 170 breast cancer patients cover their living costs. The foundation provides temporary financial support to women undergoing breast cancer treatment for basic needs such as food, utilities and medical costs.
Fry, who is now president, co-founded the organization with her friend, Debbie Wood.
âShe went through the same treatment program as me and I contacted her and we decided to start it together,â Fry said. âWe both found our cancer at an early stage because we had mammograms. So when we got together we decided we wanted to have a local, 100% volunteer organization, and the money we were receiving through our fundraising donations would help the men and women of Solano County.
Although it is rare, men can also get breast cancer.
Midnight Sun works in partnership with Kaiser, NorthBay Healthcare and the Sutter Solano Medical Center.
âThey refer clients to us and we get them diagnosed and if they have cancer they will treat them if they don’t have insurance,â Fry said, noting that some doctors will cover the cost of the treatment. âWe are working with this segment of the population which is not fully insured.
The foundation relies on private donations and also partners with companies, foremost among which is RÃ©cologie. For an annual fee, owners can register with Recology to rent a pink toter, symbolizing their support for the Solano Midnight Sun Foundation. Recology donates all of this money to the foundation, which typically ranges from $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 per year.
The foundation also hosts an annual fundraiser called Under the Valley Moon, which features a Napa-style lobster boil, live auctions, live music and dancing. The event has been taking place since 2004. In recent years it took place at the Ulatis Cultural Center but had to be canceled in 2020.
âWe would raise the majority of our money at this event,â Fray said. âBecause of the pandemic, we couldn’t do it. Because it’s such a social event and you eat food off the table, we just couldn’t plan it because we had no idea what was going to happen.
The foundation plans to host the event again next year.
âFrom the very beginning, Thornton and Sons jewelers have offered us a beautiful piece of jewelry for auction,â said Fry. âWe have great donors. Our raffle and auction items are really good. We have a sponsor fee and the sponsors have been very consistent year after year. “
In addition to the cancellation of the 2020 event, the organization has suffered other setbacks in recent times.
âOur dear friend and supporter and auctioneer Joe Gates has passed away,â Fry said. âHe was part of our organization from day one and it was difficult. I founded Midnight Sun and was president, but I passed it on to Pat Mendez. She was interim president, then died of breast cancer in 2017 after battling it for 15 years.
Fry was diagnosed with breast cancer again last year, but she overcame it again.
âAgain, this was from a very early detection through a mammogram, so I was very lucky,â she said. âSo I’m a huge fan of mammograms. When it is caught very early, your chances are really very good. But getting it caught early is really important.
The foundation is looking for new people to step in and help.
âWe need more volunteers to sit on our board and help with our fundraising event,â said Fry. âIdeally, someone who has had breast cancer or has had a close friend or family member who has battled breast cancer, because they are usually the ones who will have the most passion.
âOur board does most of the work, but we get people to volunteer on a short-term basis for the night of the event. We would also like to have volunteers to help with awareness. We have key positions available and we would just love to hear from people who would love to be a part of it. “
The foundation is always on the lookout for companies willing to partner with it, like RÃ©cologie and others have done.
For more information, visit solanomidnightsun.org or call 469-9909.
To rent a pink Recology toter, dial 448-2945.