Article published in the OC Register August 2013
Author: Armando Torres Pina ~ Dedicated Volunteer
In a show of great community support and a celebration of life, over 200 people were in attendance at the inaugural Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation Gala this past Saturday in Brea, CA. The event, which raised awareness and support for mothers who have cancer and are also raising minor children, was the culmination of hard work and dedication by MAMCF founders Jennifer Boyd and Sean O’Neill. The event featured a sit-down gourmet dinner, live music, and silent auction that featured autographed items by professional boxer Manny Pacquiao and Laker’s player Metta World Peace.
Proceeds and donations from the event will support MAMCF programming and its growing network of peers and community members. Among the attendees and supporters of MAMCF’s cause were actor Phil Anthony-Rodriguez, who gave a compelling speech about his father’s death from cancer, and Dr. Debra Gutierrez, who spoke of the prevalence of cancer and the continued need for support for cancer patients. Founded in March of 2013, Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation’s mantra is driven by both Boyd’s and O’Neill’s personal past experiences and their desire to provide support to those in challenging circumstances. Boyd, having suffered a medical illness in the past, expressed her feelings of frustration and guilt with balancing being ill and caring for a child. O’Neill was deeply affected by both his brother’s and uncle’s battle with cancer. Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation supports young mothers with cancer by contributing to unforeseeable medical expenses, providing community and peer support networks, and by awarding scholarship to their children.
Several MAMCF mothers and family members, the heart and soul of the organization, were in attendance, as well. Among them was the family of Monica Padua, a MAMCF beneficiary who sadly passed away weeks prior to the event. MAMCF supported Padua throughout her final days and both Boyd and her twin sister, Olivia Yance, attended her funeral. It was there that the twin sisters learned that prior to her cancer diagnosis, Padua had given birth to twins who died post birth. Boyd, having been significantly involved in Padua’s life, recalls an indescribable feeling as both her sister’s and her presence “seemed to represent the twins Monica and her husband, Michael, had lost years ago.” At the Gala, the Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation was proud to award Padua’s son with a 529-college fund while celebrating Monica’s life and memory.