When Patsy Cutler served in the Korean conflict, the enemies were North Korea and Communism. Decades later, the Blackwell resident is still waging war. Only this time, the enemy is cancer.
Cutler was one of five members of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars who visited OMRF in the week leading up to Veterans Day. They came to OMRF to meet scientists, tour laboratories and see the impact they have made in the fight against cancer.
For the 37th straight year, the Ladies Auxiliary made a donation to OMRF to support cancer research. With that $4,000 gift, the organization has now given over $105,000 to OMRF.
“So many members of our organization are affected by cancer,” said Cherryl Elsheimer, an Oklahoma City Auxiliary member who visited OMRF with Cutler. “But thanks to medical research, the disease is no longer an automatic death sentence. We feel fortunate to have an organization like OMRF in our state that can put our contribution to good use.”
At OMRF, the group met with a pair of scientists who are making crucial inroads against cancer. They toured OMRF’s magnetic resonance imaging facility with Rheal Towner, Ph.D., who is using sophisticated imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain and liver cancers. They also spent time with Linda Thompson, Ph.D., whose work at OMRF helped create Oncovue, a breast cancer risk assessment test that will soon be available to women everywhere.
“Since the 1960s, the Ladies Auxiliary has generously supported OMRF’s efforts to battle cancer,” said Thompson. “I was glad to have the chance to thank them for their help. We are lucky to have them as our philanthropic partners.”
Founded in 1914, the Ladies Auxiliary counts more than 767,000 members nationwide, including 7,200 in Oklahoma. The group consists of wives and relatives of veterans, as well as female veterans themselves. In addition to raising funds for cancer treatment and research, the Auxiliary awards scholarships through its Voice of Democracy Program and provides more than eight million hours of volunteer service in local communities.
The donation to OMRF came as the result of numerous fund-raising events. “We had garage sales, bake sales and bingo games,” said Elsheimer. “I even took a pie in the face at an event last year, but it was worth it.”
Joining Elsheimer and Cutler at OMRF were three other Ladies Auxiliary members:
June Dilbeck of Blanchard
Sherry Landers of Blackwell
LaQuetta McCartor of Oklahoma City