Kathy Greene of Brandon remembers her friend Barbara Bauer as having been one of the strongest women she had met – both physically and emotionally.
Greene and other women who worked out with Bauer at the Core Fitness Studio in Valrico are organizing a “White Ribbon Soiree” fundraiser as a tribute to Bauer, who passed away of lung cancer at age 51 in November 2012.
“She was strong, very bright and curious,” said Greene, who owns an interior design business. “She was the strongest woman at the gym. She could bench press more than any of us. She really had an impact on me.”
Greene said Bauer was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in July 2011. She had two grown children, Andrew and Ryan, as well as a husband, Bob Bauer. Bauer participated in clinical trails at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Bob Bauer said his wife worked for the Omnia Group as a senior sales consultant for more than 20 years The Omnia Group is a behavioral assessment and employment consulting firm, which helped clients hire the right employees. Married for 28 years, they met at the University of Kentucky.
“Barb never smoked and exercised three to four times a week for the last 10 years,” Bob Bauer said. “She would be so proud of her friends raising money and awareness for lung cancer. It is a very difficult cancer and early detection is critical. Barb fully believed she would beat lung cancer and would use her skills as a public speaker to motivate people to exercise and remain positive during treatment. During her chemo, radiation and clinical trial, Barb continued to exercise to keep up her strength and was always positive.”
He said his wife was an inspiration to all who knew her as she fought for her life and never gave up.
Debbie Ploor of Brandon, the owner of Orange Home Accessories in Valrico, is another one of the women helping to organize the benefit for Prelude to a Cure, a nonprofit set up specifically for the thoracic oncology program at Moffitt in Tampa.
Ploor said Bauer wasn’t the only person she has loved who died of lung or other kinds of cancer.
“I have had other friends affected by lung cancer and my father died of brain cancer,” said Ploor, adding lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer for both men and women.
Ploor said the White Ribbon Soiree will take place Nov. 8, which is not only Lung Cancer Awareness month but also the same month Bauer died. The event will be from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, 619 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon.
Greene said she expects between 125 and 150 people to attend the event. She said a lot of people still do not realize lung cancer kills more people than prostate, cancer and colon cancers combined.
“There is a stigma attached to lung cancer because some people still believe everyone who gets lung cancer smokes cigarettes,” Greene said. “Barb never smoked a cigarette a day in her life.”
Greene said she remembers Bauer once pointing out that no one seemed to know what color ribbon symbolizes lung cancer, which is white.
Greene said the evening will feature food prepared by Chef Dave West of the Rolling Pin and smooth jazz from recording artist Mike MacArthur along with his wife, vocalist Dani MacArthur. Dr. Lary Robinson, a thoracic surgeon and co-founder of Prelude to a Cure, will be the guest speaker and Darren Denington, chairman of the board for the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, will emcee the program. Robinson founded Prelude to a Cure with Dr. Scott Antonia, a nationally renowned thoracic researcher. There will also be a “Not So Silent Auction” and raffle. Some sponsorship packages include a VIP Sparkling Hour from 6 to 7 p.m.
For sponsorship information and tickets visit www.preludetoacure.com or call (813) 681-8686.