By Amy Wenk
amywenk@reporternewspapers.net

Losing a loved one to disease is a difficult process for the family and friends who are left behind.

Buckhead resident Kim Chesney experienced such grief after her best friend, Suzanne Clark, died of cervical cancer in 2006.

“She lived a few houses down on Hillside Drive,” Chesney said. “She was very involved in the neighborhood. She was just a devoted parent and a community supporter.”

Though saddened by the death, Chesney also was overwhelmed with gratitude for Visiting Nurse/Hospice Atlanta, the nonprofit organization that cared for Clark in her final days.

“It was just amazing the setting that they can put you in so your family can come and see you,” Chesney said. “It is really graceful and full of dignity.”

This year, in memory of her friend, Chesney has started the Tuxedo Artisans Market, which will benefit Hospice Atlanta and Camp STARS (Sharing Together As Real Support). The plan is for the event to be annual.

The market will take place Oct. 9 to 11 at the home of Chesney, 630 Tuxedo Place NW.

The event will kick off Oct. 9 with a gala called Evening Under the Stars. From 6 to 9 p.m., guests can enjoy gourmet food and fine wine as well as music from the Buckhead Youth Orchestra and a youth harpist. Admission to the gala requires a $75 donation.

Fourteen artists will be spread through Chesney’s home and gardens, selling a wide variety of art. The media range from oil and watercolor paintings to mosaics, jewelry, textiles and encaustics.

“We are a really diversified group of women who have come together to focus on this nonprofit and on art,” said Chesney, who will sell her own oil paintings. “Having it in your home, and having your garden open so people can wander through, is just a romantic evening.”

Admission to the market will be free Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each artist is donating a portion of the sales to Hospice Atlanta and Camp STARS.

A component of Hospice Atlanta, Camp STARS began in 1994. It is a bereavement camp for children ages 7 to 17 who have lost a loved one. Clark’s daughter, Piper, who is now 12, has attended the camp each year since her mother died.

“Part of the hospice program is that … you are supposed to follow the family 13 months in bereavement,” said Sandy Springs resident Barbara Moore, the director of Camp STARS. “That’s where we really step up to the plate and really do follow the families. We have resources here where they can go. It really does work.”

The camp, which about 110 children attend each year, is held each November at Camp Twin Lakes, a 300-acre facility in Rutledge. A similar camp for families is held each March.

So far, Chesney has raised $50,000 for the program from major sponsor SunTrust Banks. The check will be presented to Mark Oshnock, the chief executive of Hospice Atlanta, during the Tuxedo Artisans Market.

For more information, visit

www.tuxedoartisansmarket.com.