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Sunday tea is a tribute to a lady determined to educate women about their health

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By Laura Hagan

In its second year, the Blue Hydrangea Progressive Tea in La Grange will have a little different meaning. The event, scheduled Sunday afternoon, serves as a way to educate people about ovarian cancer, as well as offer a day of fun – with shopping, tea-drinking, massages, door prizes and more. More than a year ago, Cindy Adams launched the idea of hosting a Blue Hydrangea Tea event in La Grange. She’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and through a support group found out about the tea. She gave the national event a local twist, though, making it a progressive event – guests would travel from shop to shop in downtown La Grange, sampling a new teas at each place. Adams, a La Grange merchant who had her own shop and later managed The Emporium on Main St., decided the tea event was a way she could combine two big things in her life, as she began to become more involved with Ovarian Awareness of Kentucky.  Adams became passionate about helping others learn more about ovarian cancer, a disease undetected by screening or tests. Adams’ daughter-in-law, Lisa, also became involved in the event. She said when Cindy learned her diagnosis, many kept asking what they could do, they wanted to help. The tea party, Lisa said, became a healing and therapeutic thing for Cindy and other women fighting the same disease. “These women just want to feel normal, have fun,” Lisa said.  At the same time, she wanted people to know more about ovarian cancer. Cindy learned of her diagnosis at a late stage in the disease. “She felt really strongly about educating (women),” Lisa said, “she wanted them to know that it could happen at any age.” Lisa said Cindy’s attitude became that of “when you get lemons, you make lemonade.” She said Cindy knew how things would turn out in her situation, but still wanted the event to go on, year after year, whether she was there or not. “She said ‘If it’s not me who’s struggling, it will be someone else,’” Lisa said. “That was her priority.” When Adams’ health began to deteriorate earlier this year, she told Lisa she’d need help getting this year’s event ready. Lisa stepped in, and said she would do whatever Cindy needed. She knew how excited Cindy felt about the event and said Cindy fought hard to make it. Cindy Adams died March 31 at the age of 54 following her battle with ovarian cancer. Now, her family members have all found ways to help out at the event she helped bring to La Grange. Whether it’s actively volunteering or behind-the-scenes help, everyone has pitched in, Lisa said. “I think it’s kind of a healing thing. We know we’re doing something that makes a difference, that she would be proud of,” she said. “It’s brought the family a little closer.” In its first year, 200 people attended and raised $2,300 – all proceeds from the tea benefit OAK. This year, the event is sponsored by Baptist Hospital Northeast. Business owners on Main Street donate their time, items for goodie bags and door prizes. Since the shops are normally closed on Sundays, this Sunday’s event will allow visitors to peruse local businesses, old and new. This year the Irish Rover Too is also involved, allowing the group to set up to check participants in and give them their tea cups. Participants will also learn about ovarian cancer – their bags will contain information on signs and symptoms of the disease, information about OAK and more. The shop that once housed Jennifer’s Gift Shop will be filled with representatives from OAK, Gilda’s Club and BHNE, as well as a local chiropractor and massage therapists for participants and survivors to take advantage of. “It’s things that don’t necessarily have to be medicinal, but if it improves the quality of life, it goes a long way,” Lisa said. Each of the shops involved on Main St. will offer a different type of tea for visitors to sample, and participants can move from shop to shop at their own pace during the event – from 1 to 5 p.m. The cost is $10 in advance, $12 on Sunday. About 150 have already registered, Eldridge said.  Lisa said she has 350 tea cups for the day and would love to have that many people attend. “Even if we run out of cups, that’s a good problem to have,” she said. Diana Sapp attended the first Blue Hydrangea Tea Party event last year and said she had a great time helping out a great cause. She attended last year not only to patronize the La Grange businesses but also to support Cindy, her friend. This year, she encourages people to come out and support the community’s effort to help the cause. “Besides that, you’re remembering someone that was well-known in the community,” Sapp said. Lisa said she hopes the event, like the flower that represents it, will continue to bloom and grow year after year. This year, though, she said it will be bittersweet. “We have to do our best and hopefully we do (Cindy) a service,” she said. “Hopefully we make her happy.”   E-mail us about this story at: lhagan@oldhamera.com.