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Evening of Pampering To Benefit Duke Cancer Patient

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- Karen Herbin-Davis doesn't find much time to pamper herself these days. Not since her husband was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer just over a year ago. Herbin-Davis is his primary caregiver.

"It totally rocked our world," said Herbin-Davis, 48, of Wake Forest. "We had been together 29 years and he had never even been sick. And then we got this devastating diagnosis." Metastatic pancreatic cancer -- cancer of the pancreas that has also spread to other organs -- usually confers a life expectancy of three months. Bill Davis has beat the odds, but his diagnosis is still terminal.

Herbin-Davis regularly participates in the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program's pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancer support group, one of eight groups the program offers, free of charge, to Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center patients and their caregivers. On Wednesday, May 3, she will attend a "Benefit Evening of Pampering" at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Triangle Town Center; a portion of the event's proceeds will be donated to the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program.

"There are some times you just need a boost to make you feel pretty and appreciated," Herbin-Davis said. "This is a welcome change and has given me something to look forward to."

The $75, invitation-only event, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Saks cosmetic department, will feature makeup and skin care consultations with Ross Burton, Lancome's national artistic director. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served, and the entire store will be staffed --but closed to the public -- so that attendees can shop in private. The approximately 100 invitees include patients, caregivers and supporters of the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, as well as Lancome customers. Five percent of the night's proceeds will go to the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, which provides counseling, support groups and image resources.

"The Duke program has been an absolute godsend," Herbin-Davis said. Its support groups, which are professionally facilitated, give patients and family members the opportunity to share experiences, gather information and resources and participate in educational courses. The program also provides trained volunteers to act as companions in the outpatient and inpatient clinics, and patients can take advantage of self-image resources and workshops, including the wig and turban program, which helps patients deal with one of chemotherapy's most common side effects. The program has served as a model for similar programs at other hospitals around the country.

Wednesday night's event will be a pleasing break for a good cause, Herbin-Davis said. "You're doing and doing for everyone else, and you're always last," she said. "This is such a nice distraction."

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