Kathy Lopeman, CPGH oncologist & Way Out Woman dyed her hair blue to benefit local patients fighting cancer.
Kathy Lopeman, an oncologist at Central Peninsula General Hospital, has been taking the Polar Bear plunge in Seward to benefit the American Cancer for the last eight years. Seven years ago Kathy helped organize the first Relay for Life to raise money to find a cure for cancer, and this winter Lopeman helped organize the first Way Out Women's (WOW) 50 mile snow machine ride in the Caribou Hills to raise funds to assist patients on the Kenai Peninsula with their battle against cancer. Before she fired up her snow machine for the ride however, Lopeman fulfilled a promise to make the ride sporting Polaris blue hair, "I pledged to dye my hair Polaris blue if I raised $1,000 for the Way Out Women's ride, which I did and my boss David Gilbreath is also a blue head because he said he would dye his hair if we raised over $2,000, which we did," said Lopeman prior to heading into the Caribou Hills last weekend with 100 some other riders.
Lopeman and Gilbreath were not the only wierded out snow machine riders. To an eagle soaring overhead the myriad of hair colors beneath must have looked like the Easter Bunny had spilled his basket. Not to mention the men who rode in women's apparel, "Someone dared me to dress like this and I told them I would for $500. They raised it in about 5 minutes. It's embarrassing but it was for a good cause," said Steve Crane of Soldotna. Crane showed up at Rocky's Straight Inn Lodge, the starting point for the ride wearing a long pink wig, lipstick, eye liner and a knee-length orange dress. And who knows what the eagles may have thought about the gorilla or Pepsi can costumes.
The funds raised from the WOW snow machine ride not only are dedicated to needs of local cancer patients, but will not have any administration costs. "We want to help those patients that have the little needs that aren't covered by insurance and that don't have personal funds to pay for, the patients that fall through the cracks and can't afford anti-nausea medications or who may need a plane ticket and can't afford to pay for it before they are approved for Medicare or Medicaid or any of the other programs. These funds will allow us to offer the patients help now and directly without administration costs because local people have donated and helped with all the expenses," explained Lopeman.
The WOW event raised more than $25,000 with Elena Jackson of Soldotna taking the top money-raising honors with a total of $2,089. Jackson's daughter is a cancer survivor who had relied on community support to help them battle the disease. Lopeman says she is already talking with Polaris about next year's WOW ride and is excited about how the funds raised this year will be able to assist local patients with their battles against cancer.
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