Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sunny Atkins is planning for more sunny days

PAT_1803e

SUNNY ATKINS is in a battle with Cholangiocarcinoma and her friends and family are planning a fundraiser on Oct. 5 to help with the expenses. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

By
From page B2 | September 30, 2013 |

You can believe everything the doctor tells you or you can be your own best advocate. This is something that Placerville resident, Sunny Atkins, has learned in the past 16 months, after her diagnosis with Cholangiocarcinoma in May 2012.

Bouts of abdominal pain led the usually healthy Atkins to her doctor. When her doctor didn’t think it was a problem, Atkins pursued additional testing after the pain reoccured.

“I was driving down the road when I got a call from her and she asked me to pull over because she had something to tell me. The Red Hawk Parkway will never look the same to me again,” said Atkins.

At the oncologist’s office the next day with her husband and daughter, Atkins said she was in denial, thinking that the cancer would be treated, she’d be cured and then she’d move on.

Stage 4 caused her husband and daughter to react, but Atkins had no idea that there was no Stage 5.  Despite being told that the rare form of liver cancer was incurable and there was no chance of a transplant, Atkins remained unfazed.

Six months of chemotherapy shrunk the cancer enough for surgery in which Atkins’ gall bladder and a large part of her liver were removed.

“They thought they got it and for the next month I felt super-human — I had beaten cancer. During the chemo I put on two golf tournaments and a holiday party and didn’t miss a day of work,” said Atkins, who was executive director of the El Dorado Builders’ Exchange. “Work kept me going.”

The next medical appointment found the cancer back in Atkins’ liver and also in her spine. A super-duper radiation treatment did not work.

As cancer ate away at her spine and Atkins faced loss of mobility and control over her bladder, a surgeon suggested implanting a metal cage, two metal rods and 8 bolts to strengthen and support her spine and Atkins decided to do it.

“I had the surgery six weeks ago and it went very well,” said Atkins, 56, sitting on her living room couch. “I’m walking 1 1/2 miles a day and I have good mobility even though I’m still recuperating.”

 

Looking for options

But, Oscar, as Atkins named her cancer, is still around and this pilot, mother of two, grandmother to five, artist and wife of 22 years to her husband Rick, is researching outside the traditional medical box for the best alternative methods to treat the disease.

“People do chemo, then more aggressive chemo which makes them really sick and then they die,” said Atkins, “That’s not acceptable to me. There are lots of options, many of which are controversial but it’s better than what conventional medicine is offering.”

Determined to change the chemo/cancer scenario, Atkins and her support system of family and friends are putting on a fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Placerville Airport, 3481 Airport Road in Placerville.

“My wonderful friends and family are planning a fundraiser,” wrote Atkins in a recent blog. “We have a matching commitment of up to $20,000. So if we raise our own $20,000 they will match ours. Wow, thank you God for these wonderful friends. These funds will assist me to seek alternative treatments. The thought of stronger chemo that is only going to make me sick but not heal me is unacceptable. I hope to trail ahead for others in a cure for cancer. So it’s not just for me.”

In the home she shares with her husband who is a classic airplane restorer, photographs of vintage planes march up the wall. Atkins learned to fly after she met Rick Atkins, but has had too much on her plate recently to get back up in the air.

 

Keep busy

“Staying active and keeping my mind active is harder without working,” said Atkins who had to give up her job at the El Dorado Builders’ Exchange, “but I’m helping to plan the fundraiser because event planning is what I do. I don’t dwell on the fact that I have cancer — sometimes I even forget. I want to be cured so I can tell others how to do it. I’m here for a reason and maybe this is it.”

 The fundraiser on Oct. 5 begins at 5 p.m. in the Stancil Hangar, the place where Sunny and Rick Atkins held their wedding reception 22 years ago. Music, featuring the Relic Band, a barbecue, dancing and raffles with prizes such as a chauffeured dinner experience for two, a classic hot rod winery tour for up to three people and a one-hour scenic flight on a classic airplane for up to three people are part of the fun. Funds received over the amount of $20,000 will benefit the Images for Hope Cancer Resource Center of Cameron Park.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. They can be purchased in Placerville at Butter Cup Pantry, Diamond Pacific Lumber, Hangtown Ace Hardware, Jim’s Automotive, Mel’s Diner, Off Broadway, Placerville Antiques, Renfros and Powell’s Steamer Co. and Pub. In Cameron Park, tickets can be purchased at the Cancer Resource Center, El Dorado Builders’ Exchange and Headliners Hairdresser or purchase them at El Dorado Restoration in Diamond Springs. They can also be purchased online at blog.sunnyatkins.com.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530-344-5069 or wschultz@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Comments

comments

.

News

Cameron Park house burns

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Supes delay petition

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Sand Fire 95% contained

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Two fires in town

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

SUV hits parked cars

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

.

Letters

EID rate discrimination

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Second Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Water conservation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

Koby

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Time for change in CP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Olives need less water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Camp draws good numbers

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

 
Racing returns with big 5-division card

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

Roundup: July 31, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Prospecting

Sing while you paint

By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

 
The making of a champion

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

 
‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

 
Time to register for classes at Center Stage

By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

 
Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

By News Release | From Page: B8

 
Sacramento Museums are celebrating

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

 
.

Essentials

Weather stats

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 17-19

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Larry A. Randall

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Mark A. Smith

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Patsy Ruth Wing

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

 
Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

 
Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

 
Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23

 
.

Comics

.

Home Source

Decorating your home by the numbers

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

Avoiding the deal killers

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Luxury home sales jump

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Pending home sales decrease in June

Press Release | From Page: HS13

Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

Press Release | From Page: HS17

Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

Press Release | From Page: HS23