Each year courageous cancer survivors volunteer their photos and stories for an inspirational calendar that raises money for medical treatments at Moab Regional Hospital.
Moab resident Pat Wucherer started the Cancer Survivors of Moab calendar in 2008, as a way to raise money for the nonprofit hospital. Half of the proceeds from the $6 calendar go toward paying printing costs for the following year’s calendar. The remainder goes to supporting the hospital’s cancer therapies. This year’s proceeds benefit the infusion (chemotherapy) center.
“An oncologist visits once a month – we don’t have to travel for chemotherapy,” Wucherer said. “It saves the patient (from traveling to Salt Lake City or Grand Junction, Colorado).”
The intravenous drip chemotherapy treatments can last an hour and a half, she said.
Wucherer is seeking survivors’ photographs and stories for the 2016 calendar that will be for sale in May 2015.
“It’s been very successful,” Wucherer said. “We sell about 400 each year.”
She founded the project with help from community donations and a $500 “Make a Difference in Moab” grant from WabiSabi. Dan Norris of Canyon Color Graphics does the calendar’s layout and design for free.
Wucherer, herself, is a three-time survivor, having first been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 at age 49. In 1995, cancer was detected in her second breast and that was removed as well. Last year a tumor in her thigh was removed.
“I went for seven years with one breast – it was horrible,” Wucherer said.
At 75, she’s spunky, with a sense of humor. She posed as Miss October for the 2008 calendar with two orange pumpkins for breasts, and sunflowers in her hair.
“Everybody called me ‘Miss Pumpkin,’” she said.
“I’m hoping others will get a little silly with their pictures.”
Wucherer said she came up with the idea of a fundraising calendar after watching the 2003 movie “Calendar Girls,” a film based on a true story about a group of Yorkshire women who pose nude for a calendar to raise money for leukemia research.
The Moab calendar doesn’t do nudity – Wucherer is discreetly covered with pumpkins.
Individuals willing to participate must call her – she doesn’t call anyone with whom she’s not personally acquainted.
“Confidentiality is essential – I hope people will call me,” she said.
Some people choose to be photographed with a family member, as Moab native Margaret Southers did five years ago. The 67-year-old, who was raised on the Sorrel River Ranch, posed with her grand-daughter sitting on an all-terrain-vehicle in a San Juan County canyon.
“I like being outside with my family,” Southers said.
The calendars are sold locally in stores, at the Moab Farmers Market, and at the Moab Regional Hospital, Wucherer said.
Deadline for submissions to the 2016 calendar is by the end of April – so that calendars can be printed and be ready for sale by May 1, Wucherer said.
“A lot of tourists buy them,” she said.
A cancer survivor group meets in Moab on the first Monday of each month, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The support group is an opportunity for people to share their stories, and learn about new treatments, Wucherer said. Meetings are confidential.
“It can sometimes be easier to talk to strangers,” Wucherer said. “Sometimes families are overwhelmed and are not receptive. Their responses may surprise you. We really are a support group.”
For meeting location or more information about the calendar, call Wucherer at 435-259-4783.
Cancer survivors may submit photographs and a paragraph or two about their cancer experience by emailing Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s been very successful … We sell about 400 each year.”
Proceeds benefit MRH’s chemotherapy center