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'Voices of Hope; Family and Friends' now reaches out to caregivers of patients

When the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group released its first DVD, "Voices of Hope" three years ago, it did not know what the response would be.

To say that the response was overwhelming would be an understatement. More than 6,000 have been given to breast cancer patients and hundreds have been made available in doctors' offices and clinics throughout the world.

In addition to the appreciation and on-going support the Breast Cancer Support Group heard from cancer patients, it heard another message, according to group co-facilitator Claire Mathews.

"You have to do something for the caregivers - the families and friends of the patients - how to help them," she said.

So they did.

The release of the new DVD, "Voices of Hope: Family and Friends," will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Riverview Theater, 3800 42nd Ave. S., in Minneapolis. The premiere includes a screening, music, silent auction and refreshments and it is open to the community.

"Our original intent with the first DVD was to serve survivors in the Hastings and surrounding areas," said Matthews. "But then it reached the greater Minnesota and Diane (Davies) attended a conference in San Diego and went there. We've sent them off to all parts of the world, including Canada."

The message on that DVD was given by 12 survivors of breast cancer. Each talked openly about their "journey through cancer."

"We have been overwhelmed, humbled and overjoyed," said Mathews. "We had no idea what the response would be."

The idea for the second DVD began to form. Many of the caregivers don't know what to do when their loved one is told they have cancer.

Through individual stories again, the DVD provides another message of hope. This time, the speakers are primarily family members and friends.

As with the first Voices of Hope production, local filmmaker Marisha Chamberlain handled the production of the stories. Camera and editing is done by Kevin Obsatz. The assistant producer is Courtney Ives.

The stories include two male breast cancer survivors and a couple who met after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The DVD is sponsored by a Bush Fellowship Leadership grant obtained by Davies; Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group; Join the Journey of Rochester; Regina Medical Foundation in Hastings; River Falls Area Hospital Foundation; and many corporate and individual donors.

To obtain a copy, donations are accepted with all proceeds going back into the production of additional DVDs.

Information on this DVD and the first Voices of Hope (three-minute trailers are available) are on the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group web site; www.hastingsbreastcancer. com.

Next Tuesday's premier is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, or $30 for a family which includes two adults up to four children. For advance tickets, contact Davies at, or call Mathews at 651-437-5767 or Candy Weller at 651-437-7443.

The Riverview Theater is in a residential neighborhood. From Hastings, take Highway 55 to Highway 52. Continue northbound to Hiawatha Avenue. Exit, then turn right on E. 46th St. Continue to 42nd Ave. Turn left. The theater is on the left side.