Foundation Board Member Loses Battle with Cancer

Wendy Wasserman-Kellogg, a NorthBay Healthcare Foundation Board member and longtime NorthBay ally, lost her battle with breast cancer Thursday, Sept. 27.

"Wendy's battle with cancer was a courageous one that was met with strength, resolve and good humor," said Brett Johnson, president of NorthBay Healthcare Foundation. "She will be missed by her family, her lifelong friends in the community, her Soroptimist sisters in Vacaville and all of us at NorthBay Healthcare."

Wendy was under the care of oncologist and hematologist James Long, M.D., and was the first NorthBay patient whose case was reviewed by Mayo Clinic experts, after NorthBay Healthcare became a member in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

She shared her story with readers of our Fall 2016 Wellspring magazine.

She was diagnosed with her first bout of breast cancer in 2014, and a year later teamed up with her good friend, graphic designer and local artist Tara Baumann, to create "Jewel," a sculpture of a woman's torso covered in jewels that tell the story of Wendy's journey.

It was purchased by oncologist and hematologist J.D. Lopez, M.D., at a fundraiser, and is featured on the third floor of the NorthBay Cancer Center.

At the time, Wendy explained the symbolism.

"The stomach area in front is all black jewelry because it represents the pit in my stomach when I found out I had cancer," she said.

As you move up the torso, bright colors take over. This was the façade she showed the world.

"My message was always, 'I'm great; I'm going to beat cancer.' But on the back, red jewelry runs from the base up the spine, representing fear. On the back, the jewelry becomes pure white. It was me, pushing my fear away, always going for a cure."

On the neck, colors alternate between white and black. "I'm cured. Maybe not… It represents the big question," said Wendy. "Are we ever really cured? It's the big wonder."

Wendy joined the Foundation Board of Directors in 2016, bringing enthusiasm, community connections and a willingness to participate and promote programs and events.

She became one of the first members to join NorthBay's Patient and Family Advisory Council, sharing her patient experience with those who could effect positive changes in specialty and hospital care.

She was well known in Vacaville, where her family owns and continues to operate Wasserman Travel on Merchant Street. She was a longtime member of Soroptimist International of Vacaville, serving as president from 1987-88. She and her husband Jim Kellogg were honored as Vacaville Fiesta Days Parade grand marshals in 2013. She wore the sash as Miss California Queen in 2014 and that same year was presented with the Christine Franklin Award by NorthBay Healthcare for her exemplary advocacy and support of women's health issues in Solano County.

A celebration of life has been planned at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 9, at the C.C. Yin Ranch in Vacaville.