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She's working to spread the word

Peggy Davies knows a thing or two about breast cancer. Several of her cousins have died of the disease, and another cousin had a mastectomy two weeks ago.

Davies has had even closer brushes with cancer, too. Last year she had a lump in her own breast. A biopsy found no evidence of cancer, but the experience was frightening.

Davies has had plenty of opportunities to get educated about breast cancer, and she wants to make sure others have an opportunity to do the same.

"I obviously feel the issue is very important," said Davies, a Farmington resident.

That's why Davies is doing her part to spread the word about breast cancer, available treatments and resources available for people living with breast cancer. It's why she joined the Breast Cancer Awareness Association some seven years ago -- she serves on the group's board of directors. And it's why she's excited about that group's annual Breast Cancer Educational Conference, taking place Oct. 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

This is the eighth year of the conference, and Davies said it has grown every year. Organizers expect about 300 people this year.

There will be seminars on topics such as cutting-edge findings in breast cancer and what they mean for patients and their families; genetics and breast cancer; and plastic surgery. There are also breast cancer resources and a style show.

"When you're diagnosed with something like cancer it's in a clinical setting," Davies said. "This gives people and their support groups a chance to talk about the issues."

The tone of those conversations is positive at the annual conference. Davies knows how scary even the possibility of a breast cancer diagnosis can be. When she had her biopsy she went, in a matter of days, from believing she might be the one cousin in her family to dodge the disease, to fearing she wasn't, to being relieved once again she had a clean bill of health.

Usually, keeping people upbeat isn't a problem.

"I don't think there's another group of people that can party better than a group of people that are survivors," Davies said. "Their whole meaning of life has just been so changed. It's a fun group to work with."

And the event can be moving. Davies said the style show at the end of the event, at which survivors share their stories, always brings her to tears.

For more information about the conference and about scholarships available to people who would like to attend, visit