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Mad Hatters Took To Tea Sunday

Friends Janice Hull, left, of Bechtelsville, and Fay Ludy of Gilbertsville, came to Sanatoga as a hatter's pair.

Friends Janice Hull, left, of Bechtelsville, and Fay Ludy of Gilbertsville, came to Sanatoga as a hatter's pair.

Betsy Schaeffer of St. Peters PA.

Betsy Schaeffer of St. Peters PA.

SANATOGA PA – The hat Betsy Schaeffer wore Sunday afternoon (March 29, 2009) was a chapeau of her own creation: an outlandish green felt stovepipe with floppy brim, dotted with bright red flowers and featuring a three-dimensional lobster. To almost any observer it looked goofy and silly and frivolous. To Schaffer, it looked like a cure for cancer.

The St. Peters PA resident was among dozens of women who traveled to Cutillo’s Restaurant, East High Street, during the weekend to sip tea, enjoy lunch and raise money to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS). All were part of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, an event hosted by one of the teams that will participate in May’s ACS Relay for Life at Pottsgrove High School.

Organizers Bev Price, Sally Churgai and Erica Harting, all of Pottstown PA, estimate the event grossed several thousand dollars, a substantial portion of which – once expenses are paid – will be contributed by their Apple Basket Relay Team to the fight against cancer, a disease recognized as one of the country’s major health problems. This was their second year in staging Mad Hatter, and 2009 represents their 12th year in the Relay.

“We’ve been with it (Relay for Life) from its start here in Pottstown,” Churgai said. “It’s exciting, and we love doing it.”

Isa Sykes, age 8, of Elverson PA.

Isa Sykes, age 8, of Elverson PA.

Xochi Sykes, age 11, of Elverson PA.

Xochi Sykes, age 11, of Elverson PA.

In keeping with the party’s theme, most guests covered their heads with millinery of either the staid or send-up varieties. Isa Sykes, age 8, of Elverson PA, smiled from beneath a crown of multi-colored horns that looked like a pin cushion run amok. Her older sister, Xochi, 11, carried a flowering vine garden on her head. Gilbertsville PA’s Fay Ludy opted for a more reserved pillbox shape, but had fun with its color: bright orange satin with white pinstripes.

And that lobster on Schaeffer’s hat? It was accompanied by a bold, block letter banner that proclaimed the party-goers were “Clawing Our Way To A Cure.”

During Pottstown’s Relay for Life, teams of people will gather May 30-31 at Pottsgrove High School’s stadium, 1345 Kauffman Rd., Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township, to take turns walking or running laps around its track. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times, and contributions are collected for every lap. Pottstown’s Relay has consistently been among the most successful in Pennsylvania; this year it hopes to raise $1.1 million.

Bev Price, left; Sally Churgai, center; and Erica Harting, all of Pottstown, were co-chairs for the Mad Hatter's Tea.

Bev Price, left; Sally Churgai, center; and Erica Harting, all of Pottstown, were co-chairs for the Mad Hatter's Tea.

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