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VALLEY FOCUS | Northridge

Survivors of Breast Cancer Invited to Event

January 20, 1998|ALLISON COHEN

Breast-cancer survivors can have glamour portraits taken Thursday and Friday in Northridge to post on the traveling Wall of Hope--a collage of photographs of people who have survived the disease.

Participants will undergo professional hair and facial make-overs before sitting for the camera.

"It's just like having a big party," Wall of Hope founder and breast-cancer survivor Marilyn Gayler Axelrod said. People can dress from casual to black tie with props like boa feathers and jewelry, and costumes will be on hand, she said.

"The pictures are bright and colorful," Axelrod said, "and the women have fun getting their make-overs done."

Axelrod, 50, founded the Wall of Hope in 1994 after a breast-cancer diagnosis in 1990. She said her hope is the wall of photographs--which has grown to 82 feet long with about 700 portraits--will put a face on the disease that affects women and men of all ages and ethnicity.

The wall travels throughout California and can be seen next in the San Fernando Valley this spring at sites still being determined.

"I feel a deep sense of responsibility that I'm still on this planet," Axelrod said, "and that I can help others."

Axelrod, who lives in Northern California, said she is now cancer-free. According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 182,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed nationally each year--an estimated 20,000 in California alone.

Linda Reib, an American Cancer Society board member familiar with the wall, said the wall helps women form a new vision of themselves post breast cancer and is a positive step in their recovery. "The Wall of Hope has pulled women together with similar experiences," Reib said, "and shown that women are still beautiful following breast cancer."

The make-over and portrait sessions are scheduled from noon to 8 p.m. at the Northridge home of Harriet and Irwin Oppenheim. Each session takes about three hours and costs $29.95.

For appointments or further information, call (800) 375-2848.

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