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Just One Thing To Do This Week: Honor Your Bette

on September 29, 2017 - 8:09am

By MARY BETH MAASSEN
Los Alamos

For many, many years Bette was my best friend. We were together during a particularly drama-filled era of our lives.

We were going through angst-filled ups and downs, as both of our marriages fell to pieces while we were trying to meet the never-ending demands of raising children. We took turns holding each other up and holding each other together when necessary. On the day Bette’s divorce was final she found out she had advanced-stage breast cancer.

I was at home with her when the doctor’s office called wanting her to come in so they could discuss her biopsy results. Bette insisted on talking to the doctor at that very moment, and so they delivered the news over the phone. I held her as she crumpled onto the couch and wept. It was all just too much.

But Bette rallied. There were multiple surgeries and treatments and in spite of her exhaustion, Bette found her calling, and she put nearly all her energy into making a difference. Bette became an advocate for breast cancer research and treatment funding. She was a gifted speaker and singer and in her last few years she used her talents to raise money and awareness for the cause. In 2002 at the age of 43 Bette passed away, leaving a 10-year-old son and scores of grieving friends behind.

I have my memories of Bette and most of them make me smile, some make me laugh out loud, and a few can bring me to tears. Every year at the Los Alamos Relay for Life I make a luminaria for Bette and make a donation in her honor. It is one way I keep her memory alive and continue the work that was so important to her.

This year the Los Alamos Relay for Life is Saturday Sept. 30 at Ashley Pond. The teams are gathering to walk at 10 a.m. and the event will last into the evening. There will be entertainment and fundraising activities throughout the day, including a silent auction, bounce-houses and Frito-pie sales. It is a lovely way to spend the day and it supports the important work done by the American Cancer Society.

I want to thank Rachel Allen and Tonya Sprouse-Mullins and all their volunteers who have worked so hard to produce the 2017 Los Alamos Relay for Life. At this time they have 12 Relay teams pre-registered, more teams than in any other time in recent history. Producing this event is a time-consuming, often frustrating labor of love and the event they have created will be a wonderful success as long as those of us who have been affected by this terrible disease do our part. Thanks also go to Los Alamos County and the Parks and Recreation staff who always support this important event.

On Saturday, even if you only have a few minutes to stop in and make a donation, create a luminaria, or walk a single lap, I encourage you to do so. I will be there for Bette. 


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