By Gerrye Wong   November 2, 2023


All of us at one time or another in our lives have come in contact with someone who has become infected with cancer in their bodies – it might be someone in your family, your neighborhood, your workplace, your own home or even yourself.  Whoever and however, how were you able to express that you cared and wanted to help if you  could?  Most of us feel helpless not knowing how to even bring up that awful C word, much less know how to help your friends cope with the hardships in their health they are faced with.

Caption: AACSN at Pandreatic Cancer Action Network “Purple Stride”  event to honor Dr. Fidelia Butt

Two friends recognized the need, and in July, 2003, May Bakken and Fidelia Butt, M.D founded a non profit volunteer-driven organization, ASIAN AMERICAN CANCER SUPPORT NETWORK (AACSN) with a mission to become a community resource network for Asians, Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders affected by cancer in the Bay Area.  Their mission was to provide social programs, services and resources to all in need, not just from the Asian community. As Bakken explained, We wanted to be able to provide a community support network to Asian American families affected by cancer.  While our organization is centered around Asian Americans, a group that is at higher risk for certain heritable cancers, AACSN programs are available to everyone – not just the Asian American community. Through social programming and creative fundraising methods, we have provided families in need with educational and support resources.”


When asked what were some of the many activities AACSN provided during its 20 years span, May Bakken added, “ Our anchor programs continue to be strong. For the past 20 years, we have faithfully partnered with many groups such as  Community Health Partnerships of Santa Clara County with their Community Mammography Access Project. Each month, AACSN provides incentives for women to come in for their free mammogram. Using a community-based mobile mammography model for breast cancer screening, CMAP provides free mammograms to low-income, medically underserved women over 40 in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  AACSN has been providing breast cancer themed incentives and supporting education for the women who come for their mammograms.”

Caption: Maddie Bakken & Cindy Wang preparing bags at Kaiser Santa Clara 

The group’s cancer care package program remains a favorite outreach activity and was started by Dr. Julie Wu and Angela Ren back in 2003. AACSN is very grateful to Kaiser Santa Clara for hosting AACSN’s 50-80 volunteers each year  where for a day, volunteers assemble care packages to be given to newly diagnosed cancer patients. Approximately 500 cancer packages are assembled each year and since started in 2003, they have distributed almost 10,000 locally, regionally, and around the world. Many of the local care basket recipients receive the basket along with a brief personal visit from an AACSN volunteer.

Caption: Dragon Boat team competes for cancer awareness.

With Fidelia Butt and May Bakken at the helm, since 2006, AACSN has been sponsoring dragon boat teams of cancer survivors and supporters. Dragon Boating is a boat of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steersperson paddling across a finish line. It’s a team sport that combines power, speed, timing, and endurance. The AACSN current team has been the amazing LIVE LOVE SURVIVE team of cancer survivors and supporters with lots of positive energy! Annually, the team has successfully participated in the Paragon Point Sprint Races, Paddle for Life Dragon Boat Races, and San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festivals .

Caption: Doug For accepting YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley award on behalf of his wife Dr. Fidelia Butt, co-founder of AACSN.

As the group transitions out of a worldwide pandemic that has put unimaginable pressures on many on the most vulnerable populations in the Bay Area, the AACSN leaders want to raise funds to once again provide much needed services to help families in cancer crisis.

Caption: AACSN volunteers, survivors and friends at the San Jose Barracuda “Pink in the Rink” hockey game sponsored by Kaiser Permanente 2023

The solution – a gala HATWALK fundraiser bringing together the community in a night of celebration and hope to once again bring support to cancer patients and their families.  HATWALK 23 will be held Sunday, November 12, 2023  at the Santa Clara Marriott’s California Ballroom  with the goal of raising funds to begin an expanded program of care for cancer patients in the  Greater Bay Area. Opening doors at 5 pm, the event will include a silent auction, entertainment from Sova Taiko, Thia Megia, Miss Asian Global Pageant Beauties, child prodigy guitarist Preston Hong, Magician Miriem and more.  Theme of the evening is STRONGER TOGETHER.


The HATWALK GALA will celebrate the value of “Hats” and the comfort these items bring so many cancer patients and survivors.  As co chairs May Bakken and Carlson Marquez stress, “We are celebrating 20 years of service to the cancer community and welcome all to join the fun and fundraising needed to continue our work with cancer patients and their families”.  Topping the entertainment program will be the chance for audience  members to see the group’s signature HATWALK HAT FASHION SHOW followed with the opportunity to purchase the hats right off the models after the show’s completion.

AACSN is proud to say 100% of the evening’s proceeds  and sponsorships from generous donors will be used for cancer support activities such as sponsoring cancer-related support workshops and health fairs, support their Dragon Boat cancer survivor team, sponsoring lectures by healthcare professionals specializing in cancer care, and most importantly, providing comfort to those affected by cancer through care baskets.

For HATWALK 23 SPONSORSHIP OR TICKET INQUIRIES, contact May Bakken at 408 204 6578 or may.bakken@gmail.com.





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