NEED HELP?

The San Juan Medical Foundation s office is located at 710 S. Lake St. in Farmington. Those in need are encouraged to come in and apply.

You can also download an application at sanjuanmedicalfoundation.com, or call Latisha Furtado at 505-609-6805.

FARMINGTON — The San Juan Medical Foundation's office is a flurry of pink during its busiest month of the year.

But despite several events each weekend and more than 20 business donating profits throughout October, the three people heading the office -- John Oliphant, Latisha Furtado and Brenda Shepherd -- aren't stressed. Instead, they're exhibiting only excitement and enthusiasm for the Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund's Get Pinked campaign.

"We have broadened our scope as far as the Get Pinked event. We have so many events going on," said Oliphant, the foundation's executive director.

The Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund is a branch of the San Juan Medical Foundation, a nonprofit that works with San Juan Regional Medical Center to promote health in the Four Corners.

The Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund was establish in October 2001 in memory of Cathy Lincoln, a San Juan County resident who died from breast cancer.
The Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund was establish in October 2001 in memory of Cathy Lincoln, a San Juan County resident who died from breast cancer. (Courtesy of Jamie Lujan)

The cancer fund raises money for uninsured and underinsured women who need cancer treatment and other cancer-related procedures.

Family and friends began the fund in Lincoln's name after the San Juan County nurse lost her battle with breast cancer in 2001.

Since its inception, the fund has helped 1,075 women, said Furtado, San Juan Medical Foundation's development assistant.

Brenda Shepherd is the foundation's annual giving coordinator and assistant manager of operations. She knew Lincoln and has been with the fund since its beginning.

"(The fund) has never run out (of money) so we've never had to turn anyone away because the funds were gone," she said. "We do our best to help them all. It's not everyone that needs big services. Maybe they need just a mammogram. So that's $250. Or they need a colposcopy, which is another test. And that's $250. Or they need help with cancer treatment, which obviously then, we're going to put out a little bit more."

Last year, between 21 and 24 businesses and organizations participated in Get Pinked, Oliphant said. This year, there are at least 36, he said.

Businesses and organizations participate in Get Pinked in one of two ways: they can hold an event and donate proceeds to the Cathy Lincoln Fund, or they can raise money throughout the month of October by donating a percentage of sales or selling special items.

Auto Max, for example, will donate $100 from each car sold from Oct. 17 to 26. That promotion alone is expected to raise at least $10,000.

Oliphant and his team are also particularly proud of contributions from Denny's. Last year, the restaurant donated about $2,700 from a Get Pinked event. This year, the staff hopes to exceed that.

From left to right, John Oliphant, Latisha Furtado and Brenda Shepherd pose for a portrait.  The trio head the San Juan Medical Foundation and have
From left to right, John Oliphant, Latisha Furtado and Brenda Shepherd pose for a portrait. The trio head the San Juan Medical Foundation and have organized the Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund's Get Pinked campaign. (Molly Maxwell/Special to The Daily Times)

"The entire crew is wearing pink T-shirts that they designed," Oliphant said. "They have those shirts for sale."

Another Get Pinked event is the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon and Style Show. The event is the brainchild of Natalie Riley of Her Him Home. It has been going on for about 15 years.

Riley, along with Olita and Mike Degner of Oil and Gas Equipment Corp., are the main sponsors of the event.

It started out as a tea party at Something Special, and then took place at Si Señor Mexican Restaurant during lunchtime. It is now at the Courtyard by Marriott, and it is even on the verge of outgrowing that space. Even with no advertising, about 300 people attend the event, which has become so popular that tickets often sell out in three days.

"The breast cancer survivors are the ones that model," Furtado said. "We usually have 10 models, and they are spoiled greatly. We do the manicures, and they do their make-up and their hair. ... They tell their story, and model a couple of outfits."

More than a fundraiser, Oliphant said the event is "a celebration of life."

The City of Farmington also supports the cause

Farmington Public Library is selling tote bags, and the police department is selling key chains. The Farmington Civic Center will show "Pinkalicious," a family-friendly musical about a girl who loves pink just a little bit too much.

Molly Maxwell covers the outdoors for The Daily Times. She can be reached at mollykmaxwell@gmail.com.


In the spotlight: Cathy Lincoln

Cathy Lincoln was a nurse at San Juan County Regional Medical Center.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer while still in nursing school.

The Cathy Lincoln Memorial Cancer Fund was establish in October 2001 in memory of Lincoln, who died from breast cancer.

Throughout her career, she always felt special compassion for women battling cancer who were not able to afford treatment, said her daughter, Jamie Lujan.

It was hard for her when women were in that position to choose between getting a mammogram and putting food on the table, she said.