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Cancer Support Community Pasadena is Back in the Saddle Again!

By Pasadena Now Weekendr

Ladies Night Out on October 7, raised $120,000 to underwrite the programs Cancer Support Community Pasadena (CSCP) provides free of charge to families facing cancer. The theme this year was “Back in the Saddle Again” – a fitting theme for the organization’s return to in-person events.

Guests gathered for a night of dancing, shopping, and toasting with friends under the stars. The program was led by Mistress of Ceremonies, Holly Sidell, cancer survivor and award-winning performer of “Deconstructing Holly”. CSCP program participant, Leanne Jacobson, shared her own story of how valuable CSCP is to her and how it continues to amaze her as she seeks support.

“Our in-person Ladies Night Out was a long time coming. Friends and supporters came together in a beautiful outdoor setting to enjoy each other’s company and also raise critical funds for CSCP. We surpassed our fundraising goal thanks to our community’s enthusiasm and support around this evening. Proceeds will benefit those in our community who rely on us each year for support, education, and hope as they face cancer.” says Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s Executive Director.

Special thanks to Ladies Night Out co-chairs Marlene Evans & Becky Harris and their committee, as well as the many sponsors, donors, and Benefactors Society members who made the evening possible.

About Cancer Support Community Pasadena: The mission of Cancer Support Community Pasadena (CSCP) is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community. For over 31 years, CSCP has provided professionally led support groups, educational workshops, and healthy lifestyle classes for people with all types of cancer and their loved ones, at no charge. More information is available at

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The 10th Ladies Night Out Benefits CSCP

By Pasadena Weekly Staff

Cancer Support Community Pasadena is honoring courageous women in the community who have been impacted by cancer on Thursday, Oct. 7, with the 10th Ladies Night Out.


This year’s theme, “Back in the Saddle Again,” is a fitting homage to the organization’s safe return to in-person events.

“We’re so excited for the return of Ladies Night Out, and so is our community. Tickets are selling fast for this crowd favorite event,” said Kim Ferreira, CSCP’s director of events and marketing.


“Our sponsors and guests always have a great time connecting with friends, while making a meaningful difference for families facing cancer.”

Ladies Night Out begins at 5:30 p.m. with award-winning performer Holly Sidell serving as mistress of ceremonies. The $200 tickets include appetizers, wine and cocktails and dancing. For more information, visit or call 626-796-1083. For questions, contact Ferreira at


Under the direction of dedicated co-chairs Marlene Evans and Becky Harris, the committee is transforming Alison and Mark Gamble’s backyard in Altadena into a rustic country jubilee.


The evening will feature vendor booths with a portion of proceeds going to CSCP, an auction, raffle prizes, cocktails, food stations, and music by Country Nation.


The event’s wine sponsor is Wenzlau Vineyard, and raffle sponsors are Altadena Town & Country Club and John Hardy Jewelry.

Ladies Night Out sponsors include Kal and Roy Antoun, SMPL Mortgage; Eleven Twenty Seven Foundation trustee Temo Arjani Elizabeth Arnett; Rosey Bell, Coldwell Banker Realty; Colleen Carey/Jodi Shoemake, principals, Lee & Associates Pasadena; City National Bank; Ann Cramblit Olson; DW Dixie; Ellen Driscoll; Marlene and Robert Evans; Gamble Jones Investment Counsel; LifeSource Water Systems; Becky Harris; Kobeissi Properties; Vicki Laidig; Ruben Marquez Interior Design; Margaret and David Mgrublian; Laura and Mike Mickens; Angie and Fritz Miller; Pie N Burger; Pansky Markle; Warren and Linda Procci; Sarah Rogers Real Estate; Rosemary Simmons; Peggy Smith; Meg and John Symes; Debra Underwood/Jeff Green and families; Arlene Vidor and Laura Wending.

“Our in-person Ladies Night Out has been a long time coming, and we’re so grateful for our community’s enthusiasm and support around this evening,” said Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s executive director.


“Proceeds benefit nearly 1,000 people in our community who rely on us each year for support, education and hope as they face cancer. Our programs are offered free of charge so no one faces cancer alone.”


The organization is located at 76 E. Del Mar Boulevard, Suite 215, in the Pasadena Humane building. More information is available at

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Cancer Support Community Pasadena Receives $65,000 Gift From the San Marino Motor Classic

Staff Report by Pasadena Now


Cancer Support Community Pasadena (CSCP) is pleased to announce a charitable gift in the amount of $65,000 from the San Marino Motor Classic (SMMC). Since 2018, Aaron Weiss, founder of the San Marino Motor Classic, has generously included CSCP among the charitable recipients of this premier event.

Nearly 100% of CSCP’s operating expenses are covered by private donations, so support from community partners like the San Marino Motor Classic is critical to the organization’s operations. “No one impacted by cancer should face an additional financial burden to receive essential support. This tremendous gift will help to underwrite the programs we provide free of charge to people impacted by cancer in our community,” says Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s Executive Director.


Founded in 1990, Cancer Support Community Pasadena is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing professionally facilitated support groups, educational workshops, and healthy lifestyle classes for cancer patients and their families, survivors, and those bereaved having lost someone to cancer. All of its programs are offered free of charge.

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CSCP Welcomes Alison Wong as Incoming Program Director

As Cancer Support Community Pasadena (CSCP) prepares for the return of in-person programming, the organization is welcoming a new Program Director, Alison Wong, Ph.D., LMFT. CSCP’s current Program Director, Rachel Koonse, LMFT, who has served in a remote capacity as she resides in the Bay Area, will continue with the organization, transitioning to its Virtual Program Manager.


Wong served as a post-graduate intern at CSCP in 2014 and has emerged as an exemplary successor to Koonse. Wong has a strong background and passion for working in psycho-oncology. Having earned her Ph.D. from University of Connecticut in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Alison went on to become an Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Director of Research at Fuller Psychological and Family Services. Highly regarded within the field, Alison has written and contributed to numerous publications and maintains her own mental health private practice.


Alison says that “It has been a dream of mine to return to CSCP. I hope to serve members through meaningful connection and provide programming that addresses the needs of the whole person. I'm particularly excited to work alongside the CSCP team to broaden our reach to underserved communities to ensure that no one faces cancer alone. “

 “Working at CSCP in various capacities since 2014 has been an absolute privilege,” says Rachel. “I look forward to continuing my work in increasing the presence and accessibility of virtual programming on our calendar. Interestingly, I was a clinical intern at CSCP with Alison in 2014, and it feels as though we have come full circle with her assuming the role of Program Director. I look forward to all the ways we can work together to bring CSCP to new heights.”


“Going forward, ​these exciting shifts will enhance program delivery, ultimately reaching more members of the community who are in need of support. I feel like we have a ‘dream team’ in Ali and Rachel. They will ensure stellar virtual and in-person program delivery,” remarks Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s Executive Director.

Vintage Car
San Marino Moto Classic Gives Back to Nonprofits

By Laura Latzko, from Pasadena Weekly

The San Marino Motor Classic is known as one of Southern California’s premier Concours d’Elegance events, but the weekend of festivities drives funds to nonprofits.

Planned and run by 200 volunteers, the festivities at Lacy Park include an art show and gala, as well as an event focused on auto-themed watches.

The San Marino Motor Classic was founded in 2011 by Aaron Weiss, Ben Reiling and Paul Colony as a successor for a previous event held in the area, the Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance.

The classic has grown from 125 cars the first year to around 480 this year.

“The whole thing is about charity,” Weiss said. 

Weiss works to keep the admission price affordable so it’s accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

“We really wanted to have a car show that was of the people,” he said. “We want somebody to be able to come with their significant other and their kids.

“We can share the hobby with them. That’s really what it is all about. If you don’t show these old cars, they are going to become irrelevant, and then when you sell them, nobody is going to want them. I also tell people that the hobby is not about the cars but the people that you meet. It’s a social thing as well.”

The show highlights vehicles from the brass, depression and post-war eras in more than 30 classes, including the Rolls-Royce, Corvette, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Woodie, BMW, Ford Thunderbird, Jaguar, Japanese and Italian sports cars, Chevrolet Tri-Five, European Sedans, McLarens, Firebird Trans Am, Mustang, Camaro, Austin-Healey and Aston Martin.

The top three in each class will receive trophies in categories like Most Elegant Open Pre-War Car, Best Paint and Finish, Sports Car Market Pursuit of Passion, People’s Choice, Most Elegant Post-War, Most Exotic Sports Car, HVA Preservation, and Best in Show Pre-War and Post-War awards.

The 2019 Best in Show winners were a 1910 Model M 6-40 Touring and a 1954 300SL Gullwing car.

Judges look at different components when they score. The points are added and divided by three for the score.

“Each car starts out with 100 points,” Weiss said. “There are 30 different categories of things they are looking at — the quality of the paint, the fit and finish, the authenticity, the quality of the interior, the quality of the chrome and trim, the engine compartment, the undercarriage, the top if it’s a convertible.”

This year, the show will have a 1909 De Dion Type de Course, a 1948 Tucker Model 48, a 1910 Pope-Hartford Touring car, a 1914 Packard 138, a 1914 Moline Knight SD Opera Sedan, a 1931 Duesenberg Derham Tourster, a 1936 Lincoln Model K Convertible Roadster by LeBaron, a 1934 Auburn 1250 V12 Phaeton Salon and a 1937 Delahaye 135 Torpedo Cabriolet. 

During the show, select clubs hold their own events, including the Ferrari Club of America’s Concorso Ferrari, the Classic Car Club of America’s Grand Classic and Packard International’s Grand Salon.

New to the weekend is the August 21 art show presented by the Automotive Fine Arts Society, an international art organization founded in 1983. Many of the professional artists within the organization have worked as designers for major car companies.

The exhibit will showcase 10 artists working in mediums such as sculpture, oil or watercolor paint, or pencil and ink. Wine, cheese and snacks will be served.

Music plays an important role in the San Marino Motor Classic. During the Symphony of Cars Gala, 16 vehicles will be presented to orchestra music from the era in which the car was made. The gala will feature a dinner, music, valet parking and a hosted bar.

A very different type of event inspired the idea for the gala, which benefits Cancer Support Community Pasadena, Pasadena Humane and the Rotary Club of San Marino.

“I came up with this idea for the Symphony of Cars after going to a debutante ball,” Weiss said.“I said let’s not present girls, let’s present cars, and we will play a piece of music paired with the year the car was made.”

The organization has raised $2.2 million for local charities.

Patricia Ostiller, executive director for Cancer Support Community Pasadena, said being able to connect with others, especially through support groups, is important to patients’ overall well-being.

“We know that our programs are improving the quality of life for people facing cancer and, most importantly, improving patient outcomes,” Ostiller said.“We have members who have told us during the pandemic that we are their lifeline. They rely on us for support, education and hope.”

Money raised from the gala will help with program costs and computer upgrades. In 2019, the gala raised $60,000 for the nonprofit, which also hosts its own events, like Ladies’ Night Out fundraiser.

“(Aaron) has taken his love of cars and done something really valuable with it for the community,” Ostiller says.

“Everybody knows someone who is impacted by cancer, and everybody wants to take care of those people in our shared community. That’s what Aaron’s generosity allows us to do.”

Cancer Support Community Program Director Retires, Successor Chosen

After 13 years with Cancer Support Community Pasadena (“CSCP”), Program Director Laura Wending is retiring at the end of July 2020. Throughout her career, Laura has been instrumental in increasing the number of people CSCP is serving to record levels. During her tenure, she worked diligently to bring support, education, and hope to families facing cancer, practically doubling the number of people served at CSCP’s facility. Laura was also instrumental in developing partnerships with local area hospitals, including City of Hope, where CSCP continues to offer offsite support groups for cancer patients. She is also responsible for growing CSCP’s Professional Advisory Network, comprised of medical experts in the community, who provide educational workshops for CSCP’s members.


Rachel Koonse, M.A., LMFT, who interned with CSCP from 2014 – 2016 and also worked at CSCP from 2017 – 2019, has been chosen as Laura’s successor, to the delight of staff, group facilitators and CSCP members.


“Never one to seek attention, Laura’s deeds are perhaps best known in the letters she has received from CSCP members over the past 13 years. Most memorable are the letters from participants who credit Laura with ‘saving their lives’, by providing them with much needed support and hope as they face cancer. Laura’s compassion for every person who walks through our doors is genuine and remarkable. We’re going to miss her,” says Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s Executive Director.


“Laura has long been a champion for families in our community who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. She greets every person who walks through our doors as if she had been waiting for them, eager to help them as they face this devastating diagnosis,” says Kal Antoun, President of CSCP’s Board of Directors. 


“My thirteen years with CSCP in various capacities has been the most meaningful and rewarding work in my career,” says Laura. “Supporting our members has brought me great joy, and the staff, colleagues, and volunteers at CSCP have become my friends. I will miss them all dearly.”


“I’m honored and humbled to be succeeding Laura,” remarks Rachel. “I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Laura over the years and have firsthand knowledge of what the position requires. It has always been my desire and passion to return to CSCP to continue Laura’s good work and to enhance program delivery for our members.”


“How do you replace Laura? We knew choosing Laura’s successor was not going to be easy, but Rachel just rose to the top of our list. Her diverse clinical experiences, tremendous leadership skills, and most importantly perhaps, the respect she has already earned with group facilitators and members, made her our first choice. And, happily, our selection was in accordance with Laura’s hope to see Rachel succeed her,” says Patricia.


“Rachel will hit the ground running,” says Laura. “Having interned and worked at CSCP, Rachel knows our culture and loves our members. She is articulate, a wonderful ambassador for our work, a creative thinker, and I’m confident that she will continue to propel CSCP’s program delivery to new heights.”


Going forward, Laura will serve in an advisory role to CSCP. She will soon be relocating to San Diego County to be closer to her children and grandchildren. An event will be held later this year to celebrate Laura’s 13-year career and welcome Rachel’s return.

In the meantime, Rachel's first day with us will be Monday, July 27th. We also offer our sincere thanks to Jill Searle for stepping in to assist CSCP for the past two months. Jill's dedicated and selfless work has been critical to the continued success of our program delivery. Thank you, Jill!

Cancer Support Community Pasadena’s Virtual Gala Festivities

In less than three weeks is Cancer Support Community Pasadena’s first virtual gala, with excitement building among supporters, staff and volunteers, according to the organization. This year, CSCP is celebrating 30 years of providing support, education and hope to families facing cancer in the Greater San Gabriel Valley. “A Night in Emerald City” 30th anniversary gala will be on Saturday, July 11.

Since its founding in 1990, CSCP has served more than 21,000 women, men and children. These individuals have made more than 200,000 visits to CSCP’s free programs, with CSCP providing 292,000-plus service hours, including support groups and educational workshops.

“Our team knew it was important to move forward and raise awareness and critical funds for the people we serve who are facing cancer,” said Patricia Ostiller, CSCP’s executive director. “And while a virtual gala is new territory for us and other nonprofits in town, we’re pretty excited about what we have in store for the community on July 11.”

Co-chairs Ellen Driscoll, Sandy Kobeissi and Bill Ukropina will kick off the event. Viewers will be treated to special guest appearances and other entertainment. CSCP will also be celebrating five honorees at this anniversary gala: individual honorees Rosemari Annear and Charlotte Streng (and her late husband, Dr. Joel Streng); corporate honorees Bistro 45/Deborah and Robert Simon and Sharp Seating/Sindee and Steve Riboli; and health-care honoree City of Hope/Dr. Steve Rosen.

“We’re already seeing our supporters rise to the occasion to help,” said Kim Ferreira, CSCP’s events manager. “Our board members, committee volunteers, families and friends are already forming ‘virtual tables’ and inviting others in their network to join in the fun beginning July 8, with our gala livestreaming on July 11 at 7 p.m.”

CSCP also recognizes the following honorary chairpersons for their steadfast support of CSCP, many of whom have supported Cancer Support Community Pasadena (formerly the Wellness Community) since its inception: Liz Rusnak Arizmendi, Anne and Peter Kennedy, Alice and Loren Brodhead, Suzanne and Brian Gilman, Ellen and Harvey Knell, Conchita and Jim O’Kane, Rary Simmons, and Robin and Ben Stafford.

See the article in Outlook Newspapers

Glass Buildings
Antoun Will Lead Cancer Support Community Board of Directors

The Cancer Support Community Pasadena Board of Directors has elected city native Kalmoune “Kal” Balian Antoun, a John Muir High School and Cal State Northridge graduate, as its new president. “CSCP is near and dear to me, as cancer is no stranger to my family. I know firsthand that ‘it takes a village’ to cope with cancer,” Antoun said. “My involvement with CSCP started 10 years ago with the launch of our first Ladies Night Out at the Ice House. It was there and then that I knew where my commitment and passion would reside.”

Antoun has served as chair of CSCP’s volunteer guild for the past four years. She has chaired the organization’s annual Ladies Night Out fundraiser and its Angel Gala several times.

No stranger to philanthropy, Antoun also chairs the Arcadia Association of Realtors Events for Charity and participates on the board of the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors Charitable Foundation. She served in leadership capacities on the parent boards of Mayfield Junior School, St. Francis High School and Loyola High School. She also served on the Pasadena National Charity League board and is a past member of the Huntington Circle.

“We’re excited for what the future holds for CSCP under Kal’s leadership. Her experience and skill set, coupled with her driving commitment to serve others, will position CSCP to serve families facing cancer during these uncertain times and into the future,” said CSCP Executive Director Patricia Ostiller.

“I am deeply honored to be elected as the new board president and look forward to working with my board colleagues to move CSCP’s mission forward,” Antoun said.

Antoun is a mortgage broker with C2 Financial and is a part of the TG Mortgage team in Pasadena. She and her husband, Roy, live in Altadena. They have three grown children ― Matthew, Adam and Sara —along with the newest member of their family, Christina, Matthew’s wife.
Cancer Support Community Pasadena provides free support groups, educational workshops and healthy lifestyle classes to cancer patients and their families. For information on its online offerings,

See the article in Outlook Newspapers

CSCP's Board of Directors Chooses New Executive Director

A letter from CSCP's former Executive Director, Meg Symes:

Dear wonderful amazing friends and generous supporters of CSCP,


Being a part of this amazing CSCP community as a volunteer, staff member and participant member over these past 10 years has been beyond wonderful for me, and now I have great news to share with you! 


After a four-month executive search, the CSCP Board of Directors has chosen Patricia V. Ostiller, JD, CFRE to serve as the organization’s new Executive Director. A graduate of Northwestern University and Loyola Law School, Patricia has served as CSCP’s Director of Development since 2015. Since that time, I have had the joy of working with her.


During my tenure as Executive Director over the past three years, Patricia and I have worked closely to ensure the steady growth of this wonderful organization that we both love. I have witnessed firsthand her commitment to our members and our mission, her tireless work ethic, her valuable skill sets, and her genuine compassion and grace.


We share a passion for helping families in our community who are facing cancer. I am so happy for Patricia and CSCP, and I’m confident that with your continued support, Patricia will lead CSCP to new heights for families facing cancer.


Please join me in extending congratulations to Patricia, my friend and colleague.


And enormous thanks to both Patricia and Laura Wending, our Program Director, who stepped in as Co-Executive Directors during my medical leave.  CSCP has never skipped a beat through this transition!





P.S. Before retiring in June 2020, I will assist Patricia with leadership succession and also help with the planning of CSCP’s 30th anniversary Gala on May 2, 2020 to be held at The Langham in Pasadena. We hope to see you there!!!!  Gala planning is full steam ahead!  🥰

Young Adults Get Warmth, Care at Cancer Support Community

When 33-year-old Jennifer O’Mahony was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer a year ago, it wasn’t so much a life interrupted. It was a life under siege.

Four years married and in the upswing of a hard-fought career in fashion design, the Oklahoma native and her husband, Ryan, had moved from the bustling Hollywood neighborhood to settle down in Pasadena. They planned to have a family soon, and a dog, maybe sooner. They were prudent, renting first, before plunging into the crazy real estate market. They priced homes in Altadena.

And then O’Mahony had a grand mal seizure one night while watching TV with Ryan by her side, and lost consciousness.

“It came out of nowhere … they took me to Huntington Hospital ER where they started running every test under the sun,” she recalled.    Continue reading full article