Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Upcoming Picnic

By Joanne A Calitri   |   May 16, 2023
Event cochairs Sofie Langhorne (center) and Deborah Stanley (right) with Senior Development Director Brittany Avila Wazny, who is due in July! (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) announced its annual picnic fundraiser to be held at the Montecito Country Club (MCC). The event proves to be a super-fun and low-key way for people to contribute to their foundation. The event cochairs, Sofie Langhorne and Deborah Stanley, are asking attendees to don a “summer white” outfit of your choice and stop by for a lush, all-ages afternoon at the MCC on Sunday, May 21, from 1 to 4 pm. 

The program includes lawn games, music, wine and lunch, plus drawings for various package getaways for wellness, wine tasting, spas, and staycations. There are lots of games for children with a few teddy bears on hand to make it fun.

The TBCF lowered the event ticket prices this year to encourage more people to join and support, as well as placing more of the event’s activities for children. There will be a unique “booth” called, “Be A Match,” whereby attendees can be on a registry of bone marrow transplant donors to help save a child’s life by simply having their inside cheek swabbed. ‘

To find out more, I interviewed the cochairs. 

Langhorne, local to Montecito, is currently the co-principal of the Langhorne Group at Compass. She has served on the TBCF Board for more than two years. Her extensive background includes Director of Education for the School of Radiation Therapy, as well as the Department Clinical Coordinator for the Radiation Oncology department at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. 

She shares, “During the time of my employment, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara didn’t treat many children with pediatric cancer. But when we did, I was called upon to help oversee their treatment with the physician and the rest of the team. I understood early on that children needed a different approach to their cancer care. I think it was because of my history, knowledge, and empathy for my patients that I was asked to serve on the TBCF Board. At the time it was a patchwork of services brought together for the best care possible. Today, TBCF is creating a collaborative team approach to the care of pediatric cancer in our community, they have brought together a true team of individuals that support families on an intimate level to care for the patient and family as one unit. I’m so impressed with what the team is doing, it’s an honor to be a part of the Teddy Bear family.” 

Langhorne has volunteered in our town for more than 35 years and was a member of the Junior League SB.

Stanley serves on the Board of the Teddy Bear Foundation and the Bill Wilson Center for youth homelessness, and prior to that, the American Cancer Society of Silicon Valley. She has first-hand experience in child cancer with her granddaughter, a survivor of a Wilms Tumor, and says, “I cannot imagine a family going through the pediatric cancer journey without access to all the resources my granddaughter had. It is a gift for me to be able to work with TBCF and help lower-income families access the resources they need. We do two major fundraisers a year. In the fall, we have a formal evening event, and in the spring, we have the picnic. 

“Santa Barbara has an expanding population of young families, and we see the picnic as an opportunity for parents to enjoy a fun afternoon out with their children while supporting an amazing cause. We have worked hard this year to attract more families by making the ticket price more affordable and by providing lawn seating, which is so much more convenient for parents of busy kids. Additional activities were added this year to fully
engage the children.”

The cochairs’ funding goal is $102,500, as the TBCF new programs for 2023 are to increase direct financial assistance to families, provide couples counseling with a trauma therapist and monthly support groups, open a new fund for travel and lodging financial assistance for families treated outside of their area (nearly 90% of our families must travel to a different county at some point for treatment during their journey) and to re-open the Bear Necessities Fund for special circumstances funding for families that find themselves in extreme situations where their basic needs are at risk.

Langhorne and Stanley are supported by their event committee, Nicole Allen, Sarai Anderson, Jamie Hansen, Lado and Mirjana Ladomery, Gwyneth Lloyd, Debby Mann, Debbie Neer, Robert D. Nunez, Fe Peres, Stacey Polo, Brittany Rice, and Maria Wilson.

To buy tickets and for more information, see the 411. The foundation’s mission is to support and advocate for families living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties with a child with cancer by providing financial, educational, and
emotional support.  

411: www.teddybearcancerfoundation.org/picnic


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