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Fifteen Women Win National O-Cedar(R) Essay Contest

AURORA, Ill., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen women emerged from 47,000 votes on over 700 essay entries as the 2009 winners of the O-Cedar "Hope Helpers Awards" national essay contest. The essay contest awards each winner $1,000 to help them fulfill a wish or dream that will make life easier for those affected by breast cancer.

Winning essays ranged from starting a non-profit in a friend's memory to taking a supportive child to Disney World to helping other breast cancer survivors cope with life post-cancer. Beginning October 13, 2009, all 15 winning essays can be read at This is the first year of the O-Cedar "Hope Helpers Awards." O-Cedar is a national partner of Breast Cancer Network of Strength® (Network of Strength), formerly Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

O-Cedar has raised over $175,000 for Network of Strength since the partnership began in 2008. This year, O-Cedar will donate $100,000 to the organization. To further help raise awareness and understanding of breast cancer during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, O-Cedar has released a line of limited edition "pink" products available through leading retailers across the country.

"There is no reason to face breast cancer alone," said Domineca Neal, Senior Brand Manager, O-Cedar. "It's so important for breast cancer patients and their families to know that there is a network of people ready to provide peer counseling and support throughout their fight." Neal strongly encourages patients and families to reach out by visiting Network of Strength at or by calling the YourShoes(TM) 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center at 1-800-221-2141, staffed by breast cancer survivors with interpreters in over 150 languages.

Hope Helper Awards Winners

Winners are: Catherine Andrews (Mebane, N.C.), Emilie Burr (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Katherine Burton (Wilmington, N.C.), Debra Cantwell (Bellevue, Wash.), Justina Colon (Napanoch, N.Y.), Melissa Evans (Laurel, Miss.), Christine Freeman (Chickasha, Okla.), Kathi Hansen (Wrightstown, Wis.), Dawn Harper (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Jennifer Hinkle (Boca Raton, Fla.), Kristen Johnson (Peoria, Ill.), Mechelle Marruio (Pueblo, Colo.), Jennifer Mathews (Mount Shasta, Calif.), Gay Poteet (Overland Park, Kan.) and Nicole Smith (Overland Park, Kan.).

About Breast Cancer Network of Strength

The mission of Breast Cancer Network of Strength is to ensure through information, empowerment and peer support that no one faces breast cancer alone. Network of Strength provides immediate emotional relief to anyone affected by breast cancer. The organization raises money to fund YourShoes 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center, which is staffed by trained breast cancer survivors. YourShoes also includes e-mail and support groups, outreach programs, breast health awareness workshops, wigs and prostheses banks for women with limited resources, and advocacy on breast cancer-related policies.

About O-Cedar

O-Cedar is a division of Freudenberg Household Products LP with U.S. operations headquartered in Aurora, Ill. O-Cedar has been dedicated to "making life easier" for families for over 100 years. At O-Cedar, experts work to make cleaning up simpler and quicker, that's why they are the most preferred brand of mops and brooms in the nation. For more information on O-Cedar, visit

For more information about the O-Cedar partnership with Breast Cancer Network of Strength or to read the winning essays visit


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