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Foundation wants to help cancer patients with 'A Pink Event'

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Patricia Via of the MLC Cancer Foundation hugs leukemia survivors Nykee Cabiness (left) and Sutton Smith (right) at a foundation fundraiser and celebration held at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in 2016.

MARTINSVILLE – Pat Via has turned from being a cancer patient to a leader in cancer help, and through “A Pink Event” on Oct. 20 she aims to help even more people.

Via is the founder of Martinsville’s own MLC Foundation, which helps people deal with cancer. From 2011 to 2017, MLC Foundation raised $67,000 to help local people dealing with cancer, and it brought in $32,700 to local people through other grants and foundations. It has helped 152 cancer patients in seven years.

“A Pink Event,” a breast cancer wellness symposium and fundraiser, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at New College Institute.

Speakers will be health and wellness consultant Marianne Shane; Evelyn Pettie Reid, an author and researcher of natural and homeopathic medicine; and Tiffany Morris, MSN, RN, interim assistant dean of the North Carolina A&T State University School of Nursing.

Reid, a Martinsville native and graduate of Laurel Park High School, is the daughter of Dana B. and Martha Pettie. She will talk about surviving cancer for 21 years – without chemotherapy. She is the author of the book “Cancer: A Sentence to Live” and other writings.

“The word ‘chemo’ put fear into me,” said Reid, who was at Stage Four when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had surgery but “chose not to have radiation and chemo. They gave me a five-year window at the longest.”

She began researching other ways to beat cancer and stay healthy. “I found a tea created by the Indians, and I’m still here,” she said. She also studied natural remedies and homeopathic medicine at Clayton College in Atlanta, Global National Medicine in California and Ashbrook University online.

Shane, who lives near Orlando, Florida, also said she plans to talk about holistic medicine and natural resources. “I would recommend that the individual does their due diligence” with exploring all options, both standard medical and other natural, she added.

After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2014, she said, “I went on a quest” to cure herself using natural methods.

She had a biopsy, monogram, sonogram, MRI, CT scan and more “to show what was going on … but I never had the tumor taken out of me, no surgery, no radiation, just natural and integrated health.”

Three months after her diagnosis, she said, “I did another scan and blood test. Everything was in the normal range and has been in the normal range since then.”

Her talk will go over everything she did for herself and “alternative methods that are not conventional in the medical field,” she said.

“Tiffany will give highlights on exercising, the foods you eat, your checkup, doing your follow-up, knowing your body,” Via said. “It starts with you before your diagnosis: Knowing your body, your genetics and your family history are really important.”

Not only does the free event share information that Via hopes will help save lives, but it also will solicit donations to help continue the foundation’s efforts. Letters requesting donations will be inside all of the information packets, she said.

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“For those who can and will give a donation, we ask to give as your heart leads you to give,” Via said.

“The more people give, the more I can help others,” she added. “One on one I try to reach out to those who are less fortunate than I was when I had” to go through cancer treatments.

Donations given at the event will be used to help “the ones that are going through real hardships,” she said.

The priority is people who are in Stage Four “and the ones that they doctors say ‘There’s nothing I can do for you.’ We try to take care of them first – the ones who are really suffering hard times.”

Next in line for assistance would be people who are able to get the medical treatments they need but need help with transportation.

About 140 people attended the symposium last year, she said. Attendance is high because “So many people are exposed to cancer. Somebody in every family has been exposed to this deadly disease.”

At this year’s event, Erica Baker of Greensboro will create fruit and vegetable displays, and Governor Reid will prepare the rest of the refreshments.

There will be “at least five giveaways,” she said. That includes a cash prize of $100 to the person who brings the most other people with them to the program and $75 to whoever brings the second most.

She started MLC Cancer Foundation “in honor of my mother, because I learned so much from my mom when she was going through it,” she said. Her mother is the late Myrtle Gravely Carter.

Via’s sister, Deedra Darlene Alexander, died in September 2017 of ovarian cancer. “I know they [sister and mother] would want me to carry on the fight and help different people,” Via said

Via was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer almost exactly nine years ago, and her sister discovered she had Stage Three ovarian cancer at the same time.

“For seven years, we grew closer together,” Via said. “She did well for six years. In the seventh year, it came back in her intestine.”

Via propones living a healthy lifestyle and going through a variety of screenings and tests to check against cancer. Just a mammogram alone is not enough, she said.

The year she had cancer, Via’s mammogram did not show any signs of trouble. A few months later, she “had this little sensitivity,” so she went to get it checked out. A biopsy showed that she had Stage Two cancer.

“A mammogram did not show it,” she said. “If I was someone who did not listen to my body … I had a very aggressive form f cancer. That is the reason why I fight so hard and I do what I do, because I’ve been given a second chance to live and I want to share it with other people.”

For more information on the event, contact Patricia Via at MLC Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 3582, Martinsville, Va. 24115 or call her at (276)-732-5642.

Holly Kozelsky reports for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at

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