There is no doubt, facing a cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult and comes with many insecurities. Fighting Pretty, centered in Portland, aims to help women facing any cancer diagnosis to feel empowered and has sent over 4,500 packages nationally and internationally.
Kara Skaflestad, the founder of the non-profit, was inspired to create the organization after fighting her own battle with breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, fertility treatments, and hormone therapy.
In the midst of her fight, someone gave her pink boxing gloves, and the unique gift eventually became Kara’s symbol to never give up. In an interview with Koin 6 News, she said “It was really my symbol to keep fighting and to never give up.”
After completing her treatment, she gave the pink boxing gloves along with some makeup to a friend who was also diagnosed with breast cancer; with this gift, the idea for Fighting Pretty began to form.
“It was kind of the first pretty package that I ever sent. Then she went on to pass on her boxing gloves, and they went on to five people.” Kara said.
The packages now include a bright pink box, items to motivate the receiver, including a pair of mini pink boxing gloves, and beauty products such as scarves and makeup. Each box has the greeting, “Hello Beautiful!”
“Fighting Pretty really encourages and empowers women to remember how strong and beautiful and amazing they are. Whether they have hair or no hair, breasts or no breasts, they are still an incredible, amazing woman.”
Reflecting on her own experience, Kayla hopes that Fighting Pretty will remind cancer fighters and survivors that they are still special, beautiful, and loved, even if they lose their hair or breasts.
“I lost my hair, my eye lashes, and had a double mastectomy. I lost my breasts. That was really hard. I mean, at first looking at myself in the mirror coming out of the shower, it was shocking.”
The boxes are funded through $30 donations to the non-profit and are usually sent by someone the cancer fighter knows and loves.
Kyle Hubler, a Hillsboro teacher at Evergreen Middle School, worked this summer to redesign his entire classroom into Hogwarts, the magical, castle-like school in Harry Potter.
The classroom has everything imaginable: feathered pens, brick wallpaper, a chess set, stone owls, cauldrons, and even keys hanging from the ceiling.
In an interview with Koin6, he said, “I’ve been collecting this stuff since I was in middle school. Most of it came from my garage.”
He hopes that by decorating the classroom like the general setting of the favorite children’s novel, he will keep the students’ attention as well as show them that he cares about them. “Once they understand that I care about them, then they can actually start to care about what I’m going to teach them”, Huber stated. “That’s really fulfilling to me.”
Elise Deschaine, a 14-year old freshman at Central Catholic, is already one of the best young golfers in Oregon, placing in two tournaments in Oregon and winning the top spot in the The Olympic Club in San Francisco. In between school and practicing her skills as a golfer, she gives back to the organization that built her up to success: First Tee of Greater Portland.
Her mother, Jasmine Descahine, in an interview with Fox12, said, ” This course here, the Children’s Course, is where she first started playing golf and taking lessons.”
Her initial reason for golfing was purely to make friendships and have fun. However, five years later, her mindset is drastically different. “I just gave it all I got this year and it definitely paid off,” Elise said.
“I always had a desire to beat my dad one day, so that’s kind of the reason I stuck with it to reach the goal, which I did.” However, she’s not letting her talent get the better over her and is now helping as a mentor for the First Tee of Greater Portland.
“She comes out about once a week and hangs with our younger girls in the program,” said Justin with the First Tee of Greater Portland.
Elise thoroughly enjoys helping the young girls. “It’s just so fun to give back to young aspiring girls who were like me five years ago. When I’m on the golf course and it’s just me and the ball and a club, it’s a great feeling.”
Two bills passed unanimously during Oregon’s 2017 legislative session that will help significantly to raise awareness for and accommodate disabled citizens. Both were sponsored by State Representative Cedric Hayden.
The first bill, House Bill 2591, moved to designate May as the awareness month for Williams Syndrome, which is a rare genetic condition present at birth that is characterized by numerous medical problems, particularly cardiovascular issues, learning disabilities, and developmental delays.
Representative Hayden, who is currently raising his six-year-old daughter with Williams Syndrome, was motivated to introduce the bill because of his personal experience with the disability. He stated that he hoped appointing May as Williams Syndrome Awareness Month would promote medical and fundraiser awareness for the genetic disorder. The other benefit to the bill he noted is that it could help parents identify the disorder in their children earlier and take the appropriate steps for helping their children deal with this disorder.
The other bill, House Bill 3029, allows for parents or legal guardians to postpone for one year the enrollment of their child in public school if the child’s sixth birthday occurs on or before September 1st. Hayden’s daughter, who is delayed around 24-36 months physically and cognitively like many other disabled children, was forced to go to public school at the age of six. The school held her back in kindergarten another year as a result, which Hayden says naturally caused emotional stress for her and the family.
Many parents with children who have cognitive disabilities (Autism, Down Syndrome, etc) have run into similar problems as Hayden. House Bill 3029 addresses exactly that issue by allowing the parents to delay a child’s education to better accommodate his or her cognitive ability. The decision is purely up to the parents without interference from the school board.
The City of Portland has recently announced plans to turn the Kevin Duckworth Memorial Dock, which is located along the east side of the Willamette River near the Steel Bridge, into a “world class” swimming and recreational area.
The dock was originally built to attract boaters downtown to watch the Blazers game; however, it ended up attracting a very different audience, including vandals. The dock is still currently open only to motorized boats.
One of the benefits of the dock is its U-shape, which could allow people to swim along the inside the dock without worrying about the dangers of boat traffic.
Willie Levenson, who works with the Human Access Project and has been working with the City of Portland to create this swimming area, stated in an interview with KGW, “This is going to create one more opportunity for people to get into the river.”
Changes are expected to occur after the year 2021. However, the city and the Oregon State Marine Board are working to make these changes even sooner. The costs of the changes are expected to be around $200,000.