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The Southampton Press
October 23, 2006

A Friend’s Death Inspired Them
Lucia’s Angels aiding women with cancer

By Jennifer Davis

Five East End women have joined together and created a foundation that will support women with late-stage breast cancer. Their inspiration is the loss of a close friend.

Just days after Lucia Terzi Bagan’s memorial service, her friends and family participated in Ellen’s Run, a race to support breast cancer research, in her memory.
Photo: ©Bob Stegmaier, 2006.

Lucia’s Angels was founded in September after Stacy Quarty, Susie Barry Roden, Cindy Grant, Karen Saco and Diane Ferran lost a close friend, Lucia Terzi Bagan, to breast cancer in August. “It all started because of Lucia,” said Ms. Quarty, the chairwoman of the new organization. “She was such a giving and caring person.”

The idea to create a foundation that specifically offers services to women and their families that are dealing with late-stage cancer was born from the experience the women had caring for their friend.

“We would bring her lotions, candles and rubbed her feet,” Ms. Quarty said. “We gave her extra things that normally are not covered. It would be her wish that other families could receive this, too.”

The seed money for the foundation came from an award given to Ms. Grant. A massage therapist, Ms. Grant was the recipient of the 2006 Humanitarian Award given by the New York State Society of Medical Massage Therapists. Given $500 to donate to the charity of her choice, Ms. Grant decided to give the money to the South Fork Breast Health Coalition in her friend’s name. And so, Lucia’s Angels was born.
“Using Lucia as our inspiration, and the kind of person that she was with the giving of her time and her energy, I thought that this could be an important aspect of what we do,” Ms. Ferran said, explaining the mission of the foundation. The group will work in collaboration with organizations such as East End Hospice and is hoping to offer more personal attention to women who are terminally ill.

“We need volunteers just to visit with people, listen to them ... just hold their hands ... just to be a friend,” Ms. Ferran said.

Now, in memory of their friend, the women of Lucia’s Angels want to be able to provide personal contact as well as baby-sitting services, cooking and more to women who are undergoing treatments.

“Lucia never slept alone,” Ms. Roden said on Monday, explaining that if Ms. Bagan’s husband and children could not spend the night with her, one of her friends would. “Her friends taught me so much about how to care for someone who is dying.”

Even in her final days, Lucia Terzi Bagan was surrounded by friends and family.

Ms. Roden, a board member of the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, is also a co-founder of Lucia’s Angels. A breast cancer survivor and a longtime friend of Ms. Bagan, Ms. Roden said in the past she has had a tendency to turn her head when it came to thoughts of women dying from breast cancer. “I realize now I can’t look the other way. Those women need help, too,” she said. When talking about her friend, there was a single memory of her final days that stood above the rest, Ms. Roden said. She had received a call from Ms. Bagan while she was under hospice care. Her friend’s request was simple: She wanted to visit home and see the ocean one last time. Emotionally, Ms. Roden recalled their last visit.

“When I went over to visit, her family was there; she was out on a chaise longue surrounded by fresh flowers. She got to say goodbye to a lot of us like that,” she said. “I just thought if people could die like that, how lucky could we be.”

Lucia’s Angels, which operates under the umbrella of the South Fork Breast Health Coalition, held its first fund-raiser on September 1. A screening of the movie “Beer League,” starring Artie Lange, the comedian from the popular Howard Stern radio show, raised a few thousand dollars for the foundation. The next event, a sunset cruise around Shelter Island, will be hosted by the Sag Harbor Hysterical Society. Tickets to the event, which is being held on October 29, are $50 and include dinner and dancing.

“We would like to have several more fund-raisers,” Ms. Quarty said.
“Aside from fund-raising and more breast cancer awareness, we want to have a more hands-on approach,” Ms. Ferran said, “and really be like an angel to a person.”

For more information about donating or volunteering for Lucia’s Angels, call Susie Roden at the South Fork Breast Health Coalition at 726-8606. Tax deductible contributions to South Fork Breast Health Coalition, Lucia’s Angels, can be mailed to 35 Farmstead Lane, Water Mill 11976.

© The Southampton Press. All rights reserved.

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October 29, 2006

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