Our work is never to forget!

We dedicate moments, hours, days and years donating time, money and a spirit that travels far beyond the patient wearing a hospital gown. Breast cancer is not only about the person diagnosed, but about every person who knows or loves someone living with it.

We remember those who died so that we may live with the lessons they leave behind. We dedicate our work to them, their families and the communities each life touched. Their life energy motivates us to continue our work to provide breast cancer education, advocacy, emotional and social support to those in need. While using our hands, hearts, feet (and that miraculous space between our ears) we give honor to those “one-of-a-kinds” listed on this page. They now serve to remind us to make a conscious effort to cherish life.

leslie-and-serenaLeslie and Serena Shapiro

When someone passes, a spirit of a mom’s energy passes on to her daughter, Leslie has passed her life onto her lovely daughter Serena Arielle.  Leslie “Passed into the Light” on October 13, 2013.  Her daughter recently shares that her mom spoke of Ribbons of Life and the friends she made at the RoL breakfasts.  Thank you, Serena for keeping in touch.  You are definitely your mom’s miracle.




albertafrancyfrancis-cline-ross-7-31-62-08-31-16Alberta (Francy) Francis Cline Ross – 1962 – 2016







hopegoss1965-9-2-16Hope Goss – 1965 – 2016






heatherw-h Heather Wutzke-Howard – 2016

Although she was unable to attend a monthly Ribbons of Life BreastFest, Heather is now amongst the other RoL angels.  Our Oxnard Firefighters were able to coordinate a hospital visit with her and her husband to deliver a RoL Care Bag.  Her husband, Douglas; mother Bonita and family are in our thoughts and prayers.

candice-candyfinn10-29-15Candice (Candy) Finn – 2015

Candy took a stand at one of our December “Celebrate the Uniqueness of You” programs, speaking about the importance of legacy and the love she received from her parents.




linda-mitchell10-26-15Linda Mitchell – 2015

Linda attended many Ribbons of Life BreastFests.  Sadly, she passed away on Monday, October 26, 2015.  She is missed, but we will carry her spirit with us in the work that we ddo.




CindyAddison1957-2014Cindy Addison (1957 – 2014)







kathykatokada08-29-59-05-28-14Kathy (Kat) Okada – 1959 – 2014

Kat loved bright neon colors with animal prints.  She was the third recipient of our annual Ribbons of Life scholarship.  On June 8, 2013 during Ribbons of Life program “Life is all about how you handle Plan B”, a special ribbon dedicated to Kat’s life, was given to all attendees.






helenwier1952-0810-13Helen Wier – 1952 – 2013






taniacroninschuss10-1-53-11-22-12Tania Schuss (1953 – 2012)

Tania slipped away peacefully at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and leaves RoL with no greater legacy than her gratitude for all the blessings she had in her life. Before Tania’s passing, she said, “I have had nothing but blessings in my life. This has been such a remarkable experience.”

Tania shared many a feast with us at our RoL table demonstrating that life is worth living to its fullest and that each and every day and moment matter. She said she was blessed to have so much goodness, especially when she needed it, “and the love, I could just cry.”

Thanks to all who visited Tania during her final months to assist with her quality of life. We extend our gratitude to those who kept reminding Tania she was loved. Your cards, phone calls, food, visits, photography and rides to wherever she wanted to go epitomizes the importance and beauty of friendship.

Kristi L. Fordahl (1953 – 2012)

Kristi attended the first meeting of the Ventura College Breast Cancer Education and Advocacy Group in September 2002, which evolved into the Ribbons of Life Breast Cancer Foundation. She believed that education, advocacy, emotional and social support were important. “In the evening hours of Aug. 9, 2009, in the quiet of her home surrounded by loved ones, Kristi Fordahl left her body…she viewed her breast cancer as an inconvenience, and only in the final months did it take control of her life. She showed incredible tenacity…and…passed on with the calm dignity that so characterized her in life…she was one week short of her fifty-second birthday…her spirit…survives in all those she touched. Kristi was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, reader, quilter, jeweler, traveler, adventurer, childbirth educator, mentor and incredible storyteller. [Her] legacy is build on many unforgettable qualities; her compassion, grace, generosity, wit, humor, and enduring joie de vivre….When Kristi was employed in the library at Buena High School she realized many students whom she developed friendships with couldn’t afford the cost of a yearbook. Each year she purchased a few yearbooks and gave them as gifts to deserving seniors.

nidiaormachea07-9-64-01-01-10 Nidia Ormachea – 1964 – 2010

Nidia attended our breakfasts when we were a smaller gatherings at Ventura’s Hill Street Cafe.  She so enjoyed the camaraderie, laughter and the sharing of food.




10354759_825072447504633_738930149325343939_n.jpg Patricia “Pat” Ehret – 1946 – 2010

Pat’s ability to light up a room and bridge the language gap by translating from Spanish to English helped to assist many women and their families.  She was a joy to have as a friend.






Mary Ellen Sheets (1954 – 2009)

November 21, 1954 – October 15, 2009 Mary Ellen Sheets was an avid reader who loved reading romance, gothic, and sequel stories similar to Lord of the Rings. She long dreamt of a journey to her beloved Scotland and made that dream a reality of a 3 week trip in October 2001. While there, she visited the cathedrals and distilleries and could tell you about the best Scotch. Her love of Scotland continued after her trip and she at one time was considering finding employment there and moving. However, she lived her Scottish life here in Camarillo, enjoying the series the “Highlander” and attended the Highland Games at Seaside Park in Ventura for many years. Mary Ellen researched the clan her family was from which was the MacLeod’s.
      Mary was an example to many of us. She was ever the optimist with her special smile. She was courageous, strong and brave. We referred to her as out “Braveheart.” Mary Ellen proudly shared her cancer diagnosis openly in order that she might be a model of hope and inspiration to others.

DebbieZahner1-150x150Debbie Zahner (1959 – 2008)

Debbie’s soft-toned conversation, smile, and genuine caring for each and every one of us will be missed and is now a memory and photo quilt away.

Debbie proudly chaired our ROL Photo Quilt Project and liked being called “The Quilt Lady”. In speaking with her before her passing, Lisa Barreto assured her that Ribbons of LIfe would continue working on the project she initiated. Debbie positively responded and was proud to leave this “life” quilt behind as one of her many life legacies. Her memorial service was held October 4, 2008 at 11 a.m.


CindysPicture-largeCindy Dickson (1938 – 2004)
Poet Cindy Dickson may have taken flight on November 21, 2004, but not her spirit. The Ribbons of Life Book Library is in her name. Her legacy also continues in the classroom. Lisa Barreto’s “Coping with Breast Cancer” includes her starring in a short documentary film, Blue Jay. She is also included in the book by Lesley Dailey entitled, Goddesses Don’t Buy Green Bananas.