Being part of the Orange County community is a great experience. There is a strong sense of community and sometimes, that feeling spreads past the county lines. A pair of twin sisters, Cristen Walley Lebsack and Caren Walley Edler, grew up in Orange County and have done just that. These sisters have spread the sense of community far beyond the county lines of Orange County. The loss of their mother in 1998 to ovarian cancer has sparked a fight in them, a fight for women everywhere who find themselves in similar situations. Part of that battle has led to the Queen of Hearts Foundation’s 3rd annual South Orange County Live, Love, Laugh & Learn Breakfast Club event. During the event, $24,000 has been raised in the name of their mother, Marilyn C. Walley.
Twin sisters from Orange County lost their mother to ovarian cancer in 1998 and now they’re working towards making sure no one else loses theirs.
The Loss and The Spark
For ten years, Marilyn C. Walley fought her battle with ovarian cancer. At the age of 53, in 1998, Marilyn’s battle came to an end. For ten years, her strength inspired many, including her daughters, Cristen and Caren. After their loss, the twins made a decision to start a foundation in to honor their mother. However, a friend had told Caren about an organization called the Queen of Hearts Foundation. Queen of Hearts took in their family and for 16 years, Cristen and Caren have served as members of the Foundation Board. While the Queen of Hearts Foundation helped them, and they helped the foundation, the sisters felt more was needed to honor their mother.
The Breakfast Club
Cristen and Caren needed to do more for their mother and so, the Breakfast Club began in 2015. The Breakfast Club is an event that is held in honor of Marilyn C. Walley but also in honor of women everywhere. The goal is to raise funds during the event but also, to honor other women who have fought against ovarian cancer. The first event was for Marily, the second, for Sandra H. Lukebking, in 2017, the event was in honor of all cancer survivors. During the most recent Breakfast Club, there was an amazing, hot breakfast, and an update on where ovarian cancer research is right now by Dr. Leslie M. Randall of UC Irvine Health. November 14, 2017, the Breakfast Club raised $24,000 for Ann’s Clinic Patient Care Bags. The event was a success and showed that Orange County’s community is stronger than ever.