WESTFIELD, NJ — Several inches of snow and nightmare traffic around the Garden State didn’t stop local mom Tami Eagle Bowling's 3rd Annual Survive & Thrive Fundraiser from raising big bucks to help end breast cancer.

Held for the first time at The James Ward Mansion in Downtown Westfield, tickets, auction items, sponsorships and online donations totaled more than $46,000 for metastatic breast cancer research, funding grants supported by Breast Cancer Alliance and METAvivor.  

Bowling, a Scotch Plains mother of two, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2015. With no history of breast cancer in her family, she said she was shocked to find out these results after a routine mammogram at age 41. Because the cancer had already spread to her liver, the disease is metastatic and incurable. The good news, she said, is that she has been fighting back and her treatment is working well.

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Most metastatic patients do not have a long life expectancy, and Bowling has since dedicated her time and resources to funding critical metastatic research via the Breast Cancer Alliance. 

“Personally, this event was a celebration of life with family and friends as the room was filled with love, support and hope,” Bowling said. “It was about bringing the community together with a strong sense of purpose, as each donated element allowed more funds to be raised for critical MBC research.” 

On Thursday, the mansion was filled with auction items and food donated by members of the community and balloons from It’s Your Party representing the colors of the metastatic breast cancer ribbon: teal for healing, green representing the cycle of life and pink acknowledging that it starts in the breast.

Out front, a police car displayed a breast cancer awareness symbol to show the Westfield Police Department’s support for both the event and women in the community.  

Over the past year alone, Bowling has flown across the country to speak with doctors and researchers about her experience. In Washington, DC, she fought legislation that would help the terminally ill gain better access to healthcare faster. She comforted groups of women recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer and hosted more fundraisers like Thursday’s in Westfield that support the research necessary to help metastatic patients live longer. 

“There are things in life we have no control over. Mother Nature’s snow storms are one, and the stage IV metastatic breast cancer Tami is fighting is another,” said her brother, Lee Eagle, who could not get to the event because of the storm. “Both of these cause catastrophic damage, and for that they are ugly, but there are beautiful snowflakes in everything if you look hard enough. Tami finds beautiful snowflakes everywhere, inspiring others every day by not only fighting her own battle, but fighting the war against metastatic breast cancer while spreading her motto, ‘Make Each Day Meaningful.’”

Bowling said that she could not have accomplished last week’s fundraiser without an incredible committee of local women, led by Event Guru Jessica Silverstein of EventsbyJES. This year Bowling also brought together several members of the Westfield and Scotch Plains community affected by breast cancer. You can watch more about their stories of survival below:

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