September 20, 2007

    Dear Friends:

    I am sending this message to FANHS National, to our FANHS Board of Trustees, to all FANHS Chapters, officers, members, and supporters.   I decided to send this e-mail rather than call you about my good news and my bad news.  Putting what I have to say, in writing, might explain my current situation better.

    Thank you for sending the copies of the 2008 FANHS conference material.  I got them today.

    We have formed a team of dedicated workers for the 2008 FANHS National biennial conference at the Hilton.

    The Anchorage team grows in number and each member will work hard to make the 2008 conference a success.  The team believes that this is a chance for Filipinos in Alaska to meet our people from other states and share with each other our Filipino American history and culture.

    Members of the team are Aida Hayden who works for the Hilton Anchorage; and Dr. Aurora Salazar Hovland, back into the Alaska Chapter as Vice President. Many of you have met Aurora at previous FANHS national conferences.  Unless I mention where a team member lives in Alaska, all are from Anchorage area.

    Betsy Engle of Fairbanks is an engineer with Alyeska Oil Pipeline.  A Visayan, she attended our 1980 and 1981 Filipino Leadership Conference in Juneau and in Anchorage, respectively.  Aside from coordinating her work with the team, Betsy has promised to help raise funds so that we can offer discounts to conference participants who will attend pre-conference and post-conference activities that the team can put together in cooperation with the conference committee under Dorothy's leadership.

    Christine Marasigan of Kodiak is spearheading our fundraising to help raise funds to pay for conference expenses not completely met through registration.  She is energentic and a capable member of the team. 

    Quint Bagcal has joined the team and will work to coordinate pre and post conference activities and any other help he can provide.  He works for Alaska Airlines. 

    Many members of the Filipino Community of Anchorage, Alaska, Inc. promised to help.  The current president is Leticia Tadina and is a member of the team.  She has many contacts and willing supporters and I know that they will work to add to the success of the conference.  Also expected to be active on the team are Evelyn Abello, Dr. Luming Lim, and Father Fred Bugarin.

    Each of the above team members can bring in others to help.  I have worked with all of them in the past and I trust them and appreciate their support.

    Through through Dorothy's leadership and hard work, the past conferences had been successful.  I believe the 2008 conference will be successful as well.  I now ask that similar help will come from the National Office for the 2008 conference from Dorothy and Fred, and from trustees, officers, and members.

    That is the good news.  

    The bad news:  I have been recently diagnosed as suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer.   There were no symptoms other than horrible upper abdominal pains which my doctor initially thought were due to gastric distress and indigestion.  I have been spending a good deal of my time in bed, resting and trying to be brave.  Those of you who have medical knowledge of this type of cancer know that there is no cure and I don't have months or years left.  Only God's miracle will save me from the known outcome.

    I will begin chemotherapy in a couple of days.  I am in good medical hands, but I need your prayers, and hope that I will be able to be with you at the 2008 FANHS conference.

    Sincerely,

    Thelma Buchholdt