Cancer survivor creates event to support patients


When breast cancer survivor Kelly Barton thought about how she wanted to celebrate the end of chemotherapy, her friends suggested she plan a 5K. After all, Kelly is no stranger to organized running and walking events. This marathon runner has been participating in races since training for her first event seven years ago.

“I wanted something good to come out of my diagnosis. I wanted the good to outshine the bad,” Kelly says. “I also wanted this to be a fundraiser and for the money to stay in the community and help other cancer patients. That’s why I chose Oregon Cancer Foundation as the recipient of the proceeds.”

Putting the wheels in motion
The My Breast Friends 5K event came together quickly with help from friends and family and incredible support from Kelly’s employer, Timber Products Company, and other sponsors including Armadillo Roofing, Jones & Roth, Oregon Imaging Centers, Umpqua Dairy Products, Habitat Contracting, LLC, North Fork Roofing Materials, Inc, and Northwest Surgical Specialists.

Kelly’s goal was to have 200 people participate and to raise $10,000 for OCF. She was amazed when registration for the event, which was held earlier this month, topped nearly 300 people and generated almost $13,000!

“The event exceeded all of my expectations,” Kelly says. “I can’t adequately put into words what it meant to me to have so many people there to support the cause. So many of us have been affected by cancer in some way; it was nice to come together to achieve this common goal.”

The value of community support
The Oregon Cancer Foundation is incredibly grateful when people and organizations in the community offer to host a fundraiser to support OCF’s mission. The money raised allows the foundation to help more patients through OCF’s Financial Assistance Program and educational events, including the foundation’s Survivorship Series.

“We are humbled by Kelly’s selflessness, courage and tenacity. She’s a force of nature, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with her and to help her celebrate,” says OCF Executive Director Amy Johnston. “We are also incredibly grateful to all of the local businesses that supported My Breast Friends 5K, especially Kelly’s employer, Timber Products Company. It’s wonderful to witness a business support their employee during such a difficult time, through both their words and actions.”

“The My Breast Friends 5K wasn’t just a success because we crushed our attendance and fundraising goals. It was a success because the event was so full of positive, supportive energy,” Kelly says. “It was fun to see so many first time 5K participants win medals for being in the top 3 in their division.”

Kelly has decided to make the My Breast Friends 5K an annual event. To see additional photos from this year’s race and to get information on upcoming events, check out the event’s Facebook page.


Kelly Barton, along with her husband and daughter, prepares to lead off the race.


Even though it was raining, no one seemed to mind!


Kelly’s biggest cheerleader – her mom!

Swallows of Hope Award recipients announced


The recipients of the 2018 Swallows of Hope Awards were recently announced at the Oregon Cancer Foundation’s annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors Breakfast at Valley River Inn, in Eugene.

The awards honor one community member and one health care provider who consistently go above and beyond to spread hope to local cancer patients. While all of this year’s finalists, nominated by the public, are truly worthy of recognition, the following individuals received awards for their dedicated efforts in supporting cancer survivors in our community.

Community category recipient: Shirley Lyons
When florist Shirley Lyons of Eugene and her daughter Toviana Jackson started Bras for Cause in 2012 to support Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program, they never imagined what it would become.

“We’re in the emotion business, and we help people celebrate their most exciting moments in life and some of the most difficult and challenging,” Shirley says.

After seeing how breast cancer impacted the lives of family members and employees at Shirley’s shop, Dandelions Flowers & Gifts, the mother-daughter duo decided they wanted to create an event that would not only raise awareness about breast cancer, but also put the fun in “fundraiser.”

“One of the things that Bras for Cause does is it engages people on all different levels. People decorate a bra, bring it into the store and then we display them throughout the month of October,” Shirley says. “During that time, the public gets to vote on their favorites, either in the store or online at One dollar equals one vote.”

With Shirley’s involvement and enthusiasm, Bras for Cause has grown over the last seven years, from raising a couple thousand dollars in 2012, to bringing in over $82,000 in 2017 with the addition of Girls Night Out, a celebration event that serves as the campaign’s finale.

For Shirley, the community involvement and stories that are shared by participants during Bras for Cause are just as important as the money raised.

“We have people who come in to see the different entries and when we engage them, they begin to tell their story about their own journey with cancer, or the journey of a friend or family member,” she says. “We’ve had folks come into the shop with their masks on, straight from their chemotherapy appointment, to look at the creation that they made as part of their healing process. Those are really special moments.”

Plans are underway for the 2018 Bras for Cause campaign this fall. Stay tuned for details.

Click here to watch a video featuring this year’s award finalists in the community category.

Health care category recipient: Dr. Jonathan Gonenne
When gastroenterologist Dr. Jonathan Gonenne was told that he’d been nominated for OCF’s Swallows of Hope Award, his first question was, “Who did that?”

Humbled to receive the award, but not one to seek recognition, Dr. Gonenne credits his stellar team at Eugene Gastroenterology Consultants, as well as our highly skilled medical community, for the level of patient care he’s able to deliver. As a member of Oregon Cancer Alliance’s gastrointestinal team, Dr. Gonenne works alongside other multidisciplinary specialists in the community to collaborate on challenging cases and identify the best course of treatment for each patient.

“Over time, this team-approach has evolved into a tumor board that has been meeting twice a month for 10 years on behalf of patients. It’s really made a difference in patient care, and I’ve been honored to be involved in that,” says Dr. Gonenne.

“Among cancers, we’ve really made strides in colon cancer in the last 10-15 years. We are catching things earlier. And when you catch things earlier, you can do more and survival improves.”

Dr. Gonenne’s colleagues say his dedication to his patients is unwavering, from his participation in community events to raise awareness about colon cancer screening, to his constant efforts to make sure patients are seen in a timely manner, no matter what.

“Anything we can do to get patients in, I think, is really important. Because we’ve all be on the other side of things where we’ve been a patient ourselves, or a family member or a friend has been a patient. Taking that into consideration and keeping that in the forefront of my mind, is an important part of being a physician.”

Click here to watch a video featuring Dr. Gonenne and this year’s award finalists in the health care category.

Finalists chosen for Swallows of Hope Awards

Award Finalists

The Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF) is proud to recognize individuals in the community who demonstrate extraordinary care and compassion to those affected by cancer. Just as swallows point sailors toward dry land, the OCF Swallows of Hope Awards recognize individuals who provide hope in the face of adversity. An award will be given to one healthcare professional and one community member, based on nominations received from the public.

The finalists in the Community Category are:

Shanna Hutton
Passionate about food and healthy living, Shanna Hutton co-founded Positive Community Kitchen (PCK), a nonprofit that engages teen and adult volunteers to prepare nutrient-rich, organic meals for people fighting life-threatening illnesses, free of charge. After helping to start PCK, Shanna served as a head chef for the organization and is currently the president of the organization’s board of directors. Last year, she started offering NOURISH: Food for Life cooking classes in collaboration with Oregon Cancer Foundation and Whole Foods Market, teaching cancer survivors and their families how to prepare healthy meals. “I truly believe that food is a component to healing,” Shanna says. “Especially when it’s prepared by a community that really cares.”

Shirley Lyons
As a florist in Eugene for more than 40 years, Shirley Lyons would say she’s in the “emotions business.” Seven years ago, she and her daughter Toviana wanted to do something to help support breast cancer survivors in the community and help raise awareness about the disease. Borrowing an idea from other groups across the country, they started Bras for Cause. Each fall, they invite community members to decorate bras, then they put them on display at Dandelions Flowers & Gifts during the month of October and encourage people to vote for their favorites ($1=1 vote). All proceeds raised support Oregon Cancer Foundation’s Financial Assistance Program. “Having an opportunity to do something fun and engaging to raise money for our neighbors and friends is really important to us,” Shirley says.

The finalists in the Healthcare Category are:

Paul Moore
As a radiation oncology nurse at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, Paul Moore is fulfilling his calling. The Marine Corps veteran, turned EMT, returned to college after his children were grown to complete his nursing degree. He spent nine years with White Bird Clinic’s CAHOOTS program and worked as a labor and delivery nurse until the recession hit and the birth rate in Lane County dropped to a record low. He then began working in oncology, offering care and support to patients diagnosed with cancer. “These people are coming to me in their most vulnerable, most frightened moments of their lives,” Paul says. “They’re overwhelmed and they’re placing their faith, fears, hope and trust in me. That’s a privileged position for me to be in. I come into work every day, and I know that what I do can really make a difference for somebody.”

Dr. Jonathan Gonenne
For the last decade, Dr. Jonathan Gonenne has cared for patients as a gastroenterologist with Eugene Gastroenterology Consultants in Eugene. He also serves on the Oregon Cancer Alliance’s G.I. team, collaborating in bi-monthly tumor board discussions with other specialists, focusing on individual cancer cases to help provide patients the best possible treatment. Dr. Gonenne is known for going above and beyond to provide quality care that addresses the needs of each patient. “I’ve had family members who’ve struggled with cancer, and I think that makes it personal for me. I try to think about that with each patient I see. Cancer care is a very personal thing.”

Dr. Benjamin Cho
As a child, Dr. Benjamin Cho dreamed of becoming an electrical engineer. But after his father was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he watched his dad struggle through treatment and the medical issues that arose, he decided he could make more of an impact by becoming a doctor. “In oncology, you don’t just treat an eye or an ear or a liver or a lung,” Dr. Cho says. You don’t just treat a disease; you treat the entire person.” As a medical oncologist at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and as a member of the Oregon Cancer Alliance’s Breast Cancer Team, Dr. Cho values the time he spends with patients. Inspired by the latest advancements in oncology research, Dr. Cho empowers and encourages patients by educating them on their treatment options, offering support and giving his time and attention to best-meet their needs.

The award winners will be announced on May 8, 2018.

Nominate those who provide hope for cancer patients

Awards 2018

Cancer is not an easy road to travel. Fortunately, there is no shortage of people willing to dedicate their talents, skills and time to making the cancer journey easier through their efforts to heal, support and advocate for patients and their families.

Oregon Cancer Foundation is now accepting nominations for its inaugural Swallows of Hope Awards, to honor individuals who demonstrate extraordinary caring and compassion to those in our community affected by cancer.

“Cancer touches us all in some way and we all know someone who is extraordinarily compassionate; who gives his/her time freely to help others as they battle cancer,” says OCF executive director Amy Johnston. “It could be a doctor, nurse or medical assistant, or perhaps a friend, sister, brother or neighbor. Each patient I speak with has their own story of someone who has provided unwavering support during their battle with cancer. We want to recognize these beacons of hope in the community and say ‘thank you.'”

If you know an outstanding individual in the health care field or a community member who is making a difference to support cancer survivors in our area, please fill out our nomination form here and tell us more.

All nominations must be submitted by Monday, April 2, 2018.

Recipes for health and healing


When we put good food into our bodies, it aides in health and healing. To help cancer survivors and their families learn new and tasty ways to prepare nutritious meals, Oregon Cancer Foundation continues to partner with Positive Community Kitchen (PCK) and Whole Foods Market to offer free monthly classes on healthy eating.

Shanna Hutton, PCK’s board president and a former chef for the organization, leads the classes, offering nutrition information and demonstrating tasty ways to prepare meals that are gluten-free and feature seasonal ingredients.

Check out the class video above as Shanna prepares Vegetarian Lentil Meat”less” Balls with Marinara Sauce, and enjoy the recipes below.

The NOURISH: Food for Life classes are held on the first Thursday of the month and run from 6:30-7:30 pm in the upstairs meeting room at Whole Foods Market, located at 353 E. Broadway in Eugene. The classes are free to attend, but registration is required.

Vegetarian Lentil Meat”less” Balls

Makes about 40 small “vegetaballs”

1 c dried brown lentils
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
½ lb mushrooms, chopped (about 2 cups)
½ c gluten-free bread crumbs
½ c Parmesan, grated
½ c ricotta cheese
2 eggs
¼ c chopped basil leaves
¼ c chopped parsley leaves
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. To prepare lentils: Rinse lentils and put into a large saucepan with 1¼ cup water or broth and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed into the lentils. Turn off heat and let the lentils sit for 10-15 more minutes, covered. The lentils will be tender when done, but should still hold their shape.
  2. Meanwhile, use a knife or food processor to finely chop garlic, onion, zucchini and carrot. Place processed vegetables in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. With a knife or food processor, coarsely chop the mushrooms. Add them to the raw vegetables. (The mushrooms add a meaty texture to the meatballs, so don’t chop them as finely as the rest of the vegetables).
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  5. Place lentils in food processor and process for about 1 minute. (They should have the crumbly appearance of cooked ground beef).
  6. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to sauté pan on med-high heat. Add vegetables and sauté for about 3-5 minutes, releasing some of the moisture from the vegetables. Once cooked, place vegetable mixture and lentils into large bowl.
  7. Add bread crumbs, parmesan, ricotta, basil and parsley; mix to combine.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and add to the lentil mixture until completely incorporated.
  10. With a 2-tbsp scoop, shape mixture into small balls and place on baking sheet.
  11. Bake in oven at 400F about 15 minutes, until lightly golden.
  12. Serve on a bed of noodles or zoodles, with Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
½ c vegetable, chicken or bone broth
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add broth and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.
  6. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

Check out these activities in 2018


From tango and triathlon training to cooking classes and survivorship support, the new year brings fantastic opportunities to get involved with Oregon Cancer Foundation.

We are so thankful to local groups and individuals who donate their time and efforts to raise funds to support OCF’s mission. Consider getting involved in these fun events:

Tango for a Cause
Interested in learning the fine art of Argentine Tango? Instructors Charles & Wella Augustine offer classes every Sunday at Northwest Fencing Academy, with proceeds benefitting OCF.

“Argentine Tango is very different from the Tango in International and American ballroom dancing,” says instructor Charles Augustine. “It’s an improvisational social dance. There’s no competition involved; it’s really about everyone’s own personal style, despite their skill level.”

Classes are offered for beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers. They are drop-in friendly and you do not have to come with a partner. Learn more here.

Team Endure
Looking to get active and physically stronger? Team Endure is currently recruiting members. This local group brings together people with different fitness levels-beginners to seasoned athletes-to train for endurance events. But they don’t just take on the challenge for their own benefit; they do it to support cancer patients through OCF’s Financial Assistance Program.

Team Endure trains year-round, participating in events like century bike rides, triathlons and half marathons, but their main focus is participating in the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival each June in Sunriver, Oregon. For more information, email:

Cooking healthy
Oregon Cancer Foundation continues to partner with Positive Community Kitchen (PCK) and Whole Foods Market to offer free monthly classes on healthy eating and nutrition for cancer survivors and their families.

Shanna Hutton, PCK’s board president and a former chef for the organization, leads the classes, offering nutrition information and demonstrating tasty ways to prepare meals that are gluten-free and feature seasonal ingredients. PCK is a nonprofit in Eugene that prepares and delivers nutrient-rich, organic meals to people fighting life-threatening illnesses.
The NOURISH: Food for Life classes are held on the third Wednesday of the month and run from 6:30-7:30 pm in the upstairs meeting room at Whole Foods Market, located at 353 E. Broadway in Eugene. The classes are free to attend, but registration is required.

Spring Survivorship Series
If you’ve finished treatment, consider signing up for the OCF’s spring Series on Surviving Cancer.

This unique, 10-week survivorship series will be held April 5 – June 7 and covers a broad range of topics that address the questions and challenges that arise after cancer treatment, including: managing anxiety about cancer recurrence, sadness, depression and other emotions; understanding how cancer impacts relationships; and learning how to eat and exercise to be healthy and reduce risk of recurrence. Each session includes an expert presentation, followed by a facilitated group discussion.

There is no cost to attend. Survivors may participate on their own, or they can ask a spouse, partner or caregiver to attend with them. Get more information here.

Supporting survivors when they need it most
Patient assistance is the core of OCF, providing stopgap funds to patients undergoing cancer treatment in Lane County. Patients can apply for assistance by calling 541-632-3654, or email