A Circle of Love 1

Circle 1000 Founders’ Celebration Brunch commemorates 30 years

It takes a village–and, in this case, a large circle of wonderful friends. That is how it all began 30 years ago. Circle 1000 is a philanthropic endeavor benefiting the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The program was first developed to raise awareness and help the Hoag Family Cancer Center Institute to flourish. The inspiration behind the impactful program is Newport Beach resident and breast cancer survivor Sandy Sewell, who proudly founded Circle 1000 in 1987. Her idea was to gather a group of friends who would contribute at least $1,000 annually, and each friend was tasked with asking her own circle of friends to also participate.

From those simple beginnings, Circle 1000 expanded to more than 1000 friends who have raised more than $15 million dollars to date. The Circle 1000 committee invites community members to make an annual gift in support of cancer services at Hoag, and, in recognition of the donors’ support, Circle 1000 hosts an annual Founders’ Celebration Brunch with a noted speaker. Over the years, participants leave the event with an overwhelming sense of inspiration and a feeling that they are truly making a difference.

Back in the early days, Sewell gathered volunteers to address envelopes and help in whatever way they could. She felt that the message of early detection of cancer through self-examination and mammograms was just not reaching enough women. And, as we know, people did not freely discuss topics such as this. A great deal has certainly changed since then. Patients have so much more support, and, thanks to the growth of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, they can have progressive treatments right here versus having to travel to other medical centers and be away from their support systems. Sewell recalls:

“In the beginning, our chief goal was to educate women to get treatment early and to learn about cancer. We were gearing this to educate women much more than to entertain them.”

Cancer touches so many lives. When Ginny Ueberroth discovered she had breast cancer in 1976, there was far less support for women going through the same ordeal.

“It was hard for people to hear the word cancer,” she says.

Ueberroth was helped by a woman who came to visit her in the hospital. The encouragement from someone who had undergone treatment years earlier made all the difference. As a result, it encouraged her to counsel and comfort others, and she wanted to make every day count. When Ueberrtoh heard about Circle 1000 from her friend Hyla Bertea, she jumped in with both feet. She knew how important support was in going through the process and for recovery. Looking ahead, Ginny says,

“We now have an affiliation with USC. New trials and treatments are constantly underway. One day, I hope we can celebrate that we have cured cancer, just like what happened with polio here in the United States.”

This year, the Circle 1000 Founders’ Celebration Brunch will be held on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Balboa Bay Resort. The Hoag Hospital Foundation will honor Circle 1000’s extraordinary 30-year legacy of supporting the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. The event is attended by Circle 1000 donors, many of whom are cancer survivors, as well as Hoag physicians, nurses and friends.

The event has drawn such renowned speakers as its first, actress Jill Ireland, who was the National Crusade Chairwoman for the American Cancer Society and whose book, Life Wish, chronicled her experience with breast cancer. First Lady Nancy Reagan followed, along with singer Harry Belafonte, Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and many more.

This year’s guest speaker will be Joan Lunden, award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker and women’s health and wellness advocate.

Sheryl Anderson proudly serves as the chairperson for a second year in a row. When asked about the event, she says,

“I am honored to be part of such as an extraordinary community that is so committed to making a difference in the fight against cancer. The Hoag Family Cancer Institute has now become a leading center of excellence not only in Orange County but across the country.”

In 2016, the Annual Circle 1000 Founders’ Celebration Brunch raised $840,000 to benefit the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. They hope to surpass that figure this year.

For more information on Circle 1000 and to purchase tickets to the upcoming Brunch on May 2, please go to the link Circle1000.org.