Visalia HOW dinner to benefit cancer survivor


January dinner meeting of HOW’s Visalia chapter will benefit Tiffany Minyard who has been fighting cancer for five years

By Nancy Vigran
Reporter for the Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – More than 100 people have made their reservations for the Visalia chapter’s Helping One Woman dinner to be held Tuesday, Jan. 15. This month’s honoree is Tiffany Minyard, a young wife and mother who has been fighting cancer since 2014, although she hadn’t receive her diagnosis for two years.

In 2014, at 28 years old, Minyard was having stomach issues. Her doctor chalked it up to an ulcer and prescribed Pepcid AC. Two years later and still having problems, she wanted to see a specialist. It took another four months for her insurance to approve an appointment with a GI specialist. Through a colonoscopy, a golf ball-sized tumor was found. Within days she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, just short of a month on the heels of her wedding day.

Throughout 2017 Minyard faced surgeries which removed the cancer and part of her colon. She also underwent aggressive chemotherapy. She was deemed cancer-free. But in 2018, a routine pap smear revealed a mass on her cervix. The cancer had spread, and she found herself then diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It again took a couple months for insurance to approve her new chemo regimen.

Throughout her illness, Minyard has remained “hopeful and positive,” for herself, her family and, most of all, her daughter. It is because of illness, the hardships she has had to overcome, and her grace in facing it, Minyard was nominated as the January HOW-Visalia recipient. Her nomination was made by member Pat Urruty.

HOW, locally and nationally, is not new, said Visalia chapter president Stacy Heaton. The focus, she said “is to help a woman who is going through an irreplaceable or intangible loss.”

HOW was first formed by two Fresno friends, Charlotte Bavaro and Brenda Critzer, in 2008 and has grown to 25 chapters throughout the country. There are chapters in Georgia, Tennessee and Indiana. There are also chapters in Exeter, Lindsay and Woodlake.

The organization continues to grow because someone may attend a dinner outside of where they live. They see the benefits for the community and want to form a chapter in their own city, Heaton said.

“It think it’s a great organization because every dollar raised [less the cost of dinner] goes to the recipient that night,” she said. 

HOW’s motto is: One woman with $10 can buy another woman lunch. Ten women with $10 can buy another woman’s groceries. One hundred women with $10 can make a real difference in another woman’s life.

And that’s what the Visalia chapter hopes to do for Minyard: make a “real difference.”

The group meets monthly except for December. Attendees are asked to share a minimum of $10 for the recipient, although more is welcomed. Often there are silent auction items and/or raffles to supplement recipient funds. Generally some 50-500 people attend the Visalia chapter dinners.

Reservations for the January dinner are available through today, Wednesday, Jan. 9, and may be made by calling the chapter’s reservation line at 559-372-2739, or by email at [email protected]. The dinner will be held at the Visalia Wyndham Hotel, 9000 W. Airport Dr. Dinner is $17, with an additional $10 to be awarded to this month’s recipient. Men are welcome too!

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