Spaghetti dinner benefits Cancer Caring Center

Published Feb 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm (Updated Feb 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm)

Krista Baker said it’s an “honor to be honored” when asked how it felt to be her nursing school class project.

Baker, 34, of Carnegie learned in May 2012 that she had breast cancer after discovering a lump in her breast while taking a shower. There is no history of breast cancer in her family.

Soon, she was in the midst of chemotherapy while trying to be a wife and mother of two, working full-time at UPMC-Presbyterian and attending classes full time at the Community College of Allegheny County to become a nurse.

After six months of chemotherapy, Baker had bi-lateral breast surgery during the holiday break in December.

“Then I had four weeks of recuperating,” Baker said.

Fellow classmate and friend Aimee Arnold of Whitehall, who is the 2013 day class president, approached Baker about being honored as part of the class’ community service project.

“We wanted to do something in honor of her and we’d talked about a spaghetti dinner,” Arnold said. Several of the other classmates have volunteered to assist at the dinner.

From 3-7 p.m. Feb. 23, a spaghetti dinner will be held at Arnold’s church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 418 Maxwell Drive, Whitehall.

Arnold suggested Baker keep half the money raised from the dinner to help with extra expenses, but Baker declined.

All of the proceeds will go to a charity suggested by Baker, the Cancer Caring Center.

Baker did not attend programs at the Cancer Caring Center.

“Honestly, there was not enough time to go, but I hope to volunteer there when school is over,” she said. “I’ve been to a couple of support groups and they had mainly older women, and I heard the Cancer Caring Center focuses on young women.”

Baker and Arnold will graduate from the two-year nursing program in the spring. And before she begins a new job, Baker will have reconstructive surgery.

Baker’s husband, Jonathan, will be unable to attend the dinner due to work requirements, but Baker and their two children, Nicholas, 8, and Sara, 5, will attend.

As for her family during the past nine months, Baker said they were her “saving grace when I didn’t feel well.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door at $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. For more information about the spaghetti dinner, contact the church at 412-884-3232, or email Arnold, Alexis Jenner, Erin Bomeke or Jayme Alter at

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