Peggy Ettel knew what she faced. She’d stood close by as her friend, Denise, another Virginia Beach wife and mother, succumbed to cancer.
Yet she “never would have thought in a million years” that a tiny lump discovered upon self-examination, three months after a clear mammogram, would bring her to the same agonizing crossroad.
But Ettel had arrived early. She’d recognized signs: months of fatigue and “not feeling myself,” she said.
She recounted having told her husband, Chris, “I must have cancer somewhere, because I’m just not feeling right.”
Despite misdiagnosis after an ultrasound test – “they thought it was a cyst,” she recalled, and having seen the affects of breast cancer on her friend’s family, the then 47 year old sensed she should persist.
Further testing delivered new information and a different prognosis: Ettel would need to fight aggressive breast cancer with everything she had.
What she had was good family, good friends, good doctors and good information – information that now, 10 months after Peggy’s diagnosis, the Ettels want to help ensure that others receive. So when asked to assist with the upcoming Ferguson Dream Kitchen Tour to benefit women’s cancer research, they agreed.
The tour, to be held Mother’s Day weekend, will showcase 16 kitchens in new and remodeled homes in Hampton Roads and on the Peninsula that feature the latest in kitchen design, technology and décor innovations by Ferguson and associated contractors.
Ferguson, based in Newport News, is the country’s largest wholesale distributor of plumbing supplies. The company also has almost 300 showrooms offering products, displays and design ideas for homeowners.
Dream Kitchen Tour proceeds will go to the Junior League of Hampton Roads, which seeks to raise awareness of reproductive cancer, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tidewater affiliate.
“This tour will showcase the latest in kitchen design, but, more importantly, will raise awareness of women’s cancers that in some form or fashion have touched all of us,” said Beth Doggette, president of the Junior League of Hampton Roads. “There are many cancers that primarily affect women. In many cases, early diagnosis improves the effectiveness of treatment.”
Those seeking inspiration for their own kitchen remodel or build may visit nine houses on the Peninsula and seven in Virginia Beach featuring innovative design, technology and décor in myriad home styles, from ranch to upscale new construction.
Kitchen themes include “Tuscan Treasure,” “Cottage Charmer,” “Geared for Gathering” and “Coq au Vin.”
Tickets are $25 (buy one/get one free) in advance or $30 (also buy one/get one) during the first two days of the tour. Addresses will be provided only to ticket holders and will be mailed with ticket orders.
Advance tickets may be purchased at www.jlhr.org, at the Ferguson Dream Kitchen Tour headquarters in the Peninsula Town Center or at Ferguson locations in Williamsburg (6540 Mooretown Road), Virginia Beach (4712 Baxter Road) or Newport News (618 Bland Blvd.).
Tickets also may be purchased May 7 and 8 at the Ferguson showrooms. Denise Vaughn, manager of corporate communications for Ferguson, recommends purchasing tickets in advance.
Tour participants drive themselves to the featured homes and may spread their visits over the event’s three days.
Chris Ettel’s company, VB Homes, built two of the Beach kitchens featured on the tour. Homeowners Kevin and Nancy O’Brien and Robert and Jodie Berndt, also friends of the Ettels, said they’re happy to participate.
“We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to show support,” Nancy O’Brien said.
She loves her remodeled kitchen with its flexible sink faucet, center island, built-in bread box, paneled dishwasher, distinctive light fixtures, see-through refrigerator door and openness. “VB Homes worked seamlessly with Ferguson and made our renovation a breeze.”
Jodie Berndt said her new kitchen “functions beautifully for modern people” but reflects the original era of her historic home.
Her children like the under-the-counter ice maker; she favors the lighting, prep sink and granite counter tops.
“I think everyone knows someone with breast cancer,” she said.
“We’ve watched Peggy go through her treatment; we jumped at the chance to honor them because they’ve been such a beautiful example of strong faith and hope in the middle of a challenging situation.”
Ettel has endured three rounds of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds,” she said, graciously. “I feel like, for me, that was the right thing to do because I did not want to go through the rest of my life worrying.
“Early detection is the key,” Ettel added. “I don’t know (exactly) what it was that made me check myself. Sad as it is, Denise’s (struggle) saved my life.”