BRIGHTLY COLORED SUNFLOWERS grow tall at the El Dorado Nursery on Durock Road in Shingle Springs. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene

Feature Photos

Sunny flowers grow for a cause

By From page A3 | August 21, 2013

Shock took over when Juliet Voigtlander was diagnosed with breast cancer this past May.

“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I’m someone who never sits down, like the Energizer Bunny,” Voigtlander said. “No one would have ever thought that this would happen to me.”

Voigtlander, 50, of Granite Bay had a clean mammogram the month before her diagnosis. She discovered the lump during a self-breast exam in the shower.

“I was really lucky,” she said. “It was a big lump. Had I not found it in May, my outcome would have been a lot worse.”

Voigtlander jokes that her diagnosis wouldn’t have been as big a crisis if she’d discovered it a few months later — say, in July. The owner of El Dorado Nursery and Garden  in Shingle Springs said in the nursery business, May is a month that can’t be missed.

“During the spring, I usually work 70 hours a week,” she explained. “It’s the busiest time of the year, and it’s really difficult for my employees for me to be out.”

This spring Voigtlander didn’t have a choice. Her life was consumed by doctor’s appointments and lab work and surgeries. She wasn’t allowed to be in the sun, work or even to lift 5 pounds. Before long, customers began to notice that she wasn’t in the office. It was then that Voigtlander decided to go public with her diagnosis, as well as to hold a Sunflower Awareness Day at the nursery.

“In the past, we sponsored the Power of the Sunflower Breast Cancer Awareness Garden at … customer Nancy Siegler’s home in Cameron Park,” said Voigtlander. “This time, we decided to hold an awareness day at the nursery. It just seemed like a good idea and a way to encourage hope and learning for anyone who had been affected by cancer in any way.”

The Sunflower Breast Cancer Awareness Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24. The event is free and will feature representatives from Marshall Hospital and Kaiser Permanente, among others. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the sunflower garden as well as find out information about breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and support groups. There will also be a raffle for the American Cancer Society featuring two handmade quilts and other prizes.

“It can be very overwhelming when you are diagnosed with cancer,” said Voigtlander. “I never knew what support groups were out there until I was diagnosed, and I really just want to encourage women to get their mammograms and be aware. The chances of getting cancer are higher than we think. It’s so important to be diligent.”

For more information about the Sunflower Breast Cancer Awareness Day call the El Dorado Nursery and Garden at (530) 676-6555 or visit the nursery at 3931 Durock Road in Shingle Springs. You can also visit the nursery’s website at

Jessica Cyphers


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