Novella Club holds 10th Cancer Survivor Dinner

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

The Novella Club of Columbiana held its 10th Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner on Sept. 20 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana.

Over 60 people were in attendance for the event, which offered a time of fellowship and celebration of life for the many people who have fought the battle against the deadly disease.

Special guest Brenda Ladun spoke at the 10th Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner hosted by the Novella Club. Ladun is pictured with Novella Club Vice President Pat Ponder and special guest Judge Jim Fuhrmeister. (Contributed)

Special guest Brenda Ladun spoke at the 10th Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner hosted by the Novella Club. Ladun is pictured with Novella Club Vice President Pat Ponder and special guest Judge Jim Fuhrmeister. (Contributed)

On hand from the American Cancer Society was spokesperson India Bailey, who was there to offer words of encouragement.

“Our mission at the American Cancer Society is to one day have a world completely free of cancer where no one ever has to hear the words ‘you have cancer’ and feel the hopelessness that comes with that diagnosis,” Bailey said. “One of the things we are doing to move toward that mission is our Relay for Life event, which is the largest fundraiser in the world that provides funds that go directly toward cancer research.”

Introduction of the guest speaker, Brenda Ladun, was done by Judge Jim Fuhrmeister. Fuhrmeister’s late wife, Patricia, lost her battle against leukemia.

“When you are fighting the battle [against cancer] you have got to have hope. It is brutal and you have to have hope to keep going on,” Fuhrmeister said.

Fuhrmeister introduced Ladun, who has been a news anchor in the Birmingham market for two decades.

Ladun has fought two courageous battles against breast cancer, the first in 2001 and the most recent in 2007.

“I wouldn’t trade having cancer now for anything because I feel like I crawled up into my Father’s lap when I needed him, and he has carried me,” Ladun said. “Whatever that thing is that you’re going through and no matter how horrible it is, God is taking you on a journey. He’s teaching you and molding you. He’s got something better for you.”

Pat Ponder, vice president of the Novella Club, took time at the end of the program to honor three of its members that have survived cancer: Chestine Cardin, Anita Davis and Becky Moore.

Throughout the year, the Novella Club works to provide scholarships for the Miss Shelby County Pageant and the Shelby County High School Deserving Female Senior. They make annual grants to local Columbiana schools as well as to organizations such as Shelby County Safehouse, Heifer International, Operation Smile and Backpack Buddies.