Beach Bumming for HERA

October 4, 2011

By Maile Buker, HERA Board Member and Immediate Past President

Photo of Sean Patrick and Maile Buker

Sean and Maile

So, I was invited to tell the story of how I auctioned off a week’s vacation in my ocean-view cottage in Hermosa Beach, California as an incentive to raise more funds from my friends and family to support HERA’s Climb4Life fundraising event. I also threw in my car and my trusty beach cruiser. Crazy, I know, but I lived only two blocks from the beach and two blocks from my office. There was a couch at work and I could shower at the gym.

It worked.

I managed to raise $8,435 for the event in Boulder that year. We pulled in a total of over $60,000 for the 2009 Climb4Life. HERA Founder, Sean Patrick, had passed away only four months prior, and we were all still processing what that meant – to each of us, to our extended family, and to HERA. What the HERA community had in common was an unwavering commitment to carry forth the torch, the rituals, and the traditions that personified Sean’s spirit and determination to raise awareness and find a cure for ovarian cancer.

My co-worker who donated the largest sum and “won” my prize summed it up:

 Maile, you make the world a better place in so many ways. Good for you helping raise money for such a worthy cause. As much as I would love to use your house, car, food, liquor, air conditioning, water, electricity, and torment your neighbors, I would prefer you give it to the person of your choice.”


Photo of Hermosa House

Maile's Hermosa House

That turned out to be one of my best friends from Park City, who donated the second highest amount and promptly took me up on my offer and moved in with her husband for a week. And I hit the couch in my office.

Giving up my house for a week seemed like a trivial inconvenience compared to what Sean and the thousands of other women suffering from ovarian cancer had gone through as they dealt with their disease. Sean, herself, described the experience as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through the Healthcare System.”

I was honored to be able to do my small part to increase awareness around the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, raise monies for research, and keep Sean’s flame burning brightly.


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One comment

  1. October 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Pam Gray Richman says:

    Maile – what great work you are doing.. My sister Sue just lost a very close dear friend to this disease (last week) and I will pass this site and information on to her to see the family can know that someone is out there putting out the word and fighting the fight! You are to be commended…

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