When we think about the women we love, October is one of the most important months of the year. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Brazos Valley means we take the mission of the American Cancer Society seriously. We honor our survivors and we are most grateful for the activities of the Pink Alliance and their Surviving and Thriving Luncheon.
For 2019, the great people at Spirit Ice Arena were name sponsors of the 17th annual luncheon, held annually at the Hilton College Station & Conference Center. The guest this year at the sold-out luncheon was tremendous Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Hamilton, whose appearance was underwritten by CHI St. Joseph Health.
Scotty Hamilton, as he was known as a young man, did amazing triple axels and backflips on the ice. He looked like the man of steel, but he also bravely battled and conquered cancer with a champion’s spirit. Today, he is a popular speaker who has inspired millions of Americans since beating the disease. Hamilton shares his story to inspire others.
One important message of awareness promoted by the Pink Alliance nonprofit, who hosts the Surviving and Thriving luncheon: breast cancer impacts the entire family not just the woman impacted. Fortunately, we have this organization, Pink Alliance, and they’ve raised over $866,000 in the past 16 years. Importantly, the funds stay in our community, spent on “low-cost mammograms, local breast health initiatives, cancer awareness, and other financial support.”
Some numbers are helpful: 1) since 2016 Pink Alliance has “provided direct support for local patients in more than $223,000 in grants; 2) in 2017, the grant funding made possible 547 mammograms, 13 ultrasounds and 2 biopsies; 3) in 2018 not only did 98 low-income patients receive over $90,000 in medical assistance; 6 different organizations received over $100,000 in grant funding from fundraising proceeds.” Each one of these numbers has a beautiful face, loving heart, and gentle spirit behind it.
The Pink Alliance Board of Directors includes:
Pink Alliance Board of Directors
(from left to right – front row) Kay McWhorter, Jeannie Kipp, Cheryl Pederson, Patricia Gerling; back row, Carolyn Oatman, Janie McDougal, Doris Light, Sally Dee Wade, Reba Ragsdale].
These directors and other wonderful volunteers spend countless hours each year planning out the luncheon and several other fund-raising endeavors to take care of women in the Brazos Valley community. We’re reminded that the Texas A&M women’s basketball team does their annual BTHO Breast Cancer event each year to raise funds for both the Kay Yow Foundation as well as the Pink Alliance.
Every year at the signature basketball game, women who are currently battling breast cancer and receiving treatment are introduced, followed by the area women who have been survivors for increasing numbers of years. It’s a special feeling to see so many people we love among the survivors. It takes the caring and gifts of each one of us here, taking care of those who take care of so many others.
Great appreciation goes to C. C. Creations, Baylor Scott & White Health, and Texas A&M Health Science Center, Smith Dairy Queens and The Matthews Group for being signature sponsors for this year’s luncheon.
Special thanks to CHI St. Joseph for sponsoring guest speaker Scott Hamilton for his “Unquenchable” appearance at the Surviving & Thriving Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. Scott is also the author of “Finish First: Winning Changes Everything,” published in 2018 and he has long been a popular motivational speaker.
As a reminder, his victory over cancer goes back to 1997 when he battled testicular cancer. Fortunately, Scotty was able to return to his career as a Olympic Hall of Fame championship skater. Then, seven years later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was fortunately benign. Hamilton pursued his recovery with the same discipline and vigor that he did his championship skating, fervently!
Today, in addition to traveling the country speaking at fundraising luncheons he established the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, which stands for Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship). Hamilton didn’t forget about skating! He also founded the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy near Nashville, Tennessee.
Breast cancer is not just a “case,” and no woman is just a case number nor a statistic. Each of you is a fighter, a champion, a survivor. Thanks to all of you who volunteer in the Pink Alliance for what you do to save lives here in the Brazos Valley!
If you’d like to join in helping in support the work of Pink Alliance, you can make “Think Pink” mammograms by donating $100 towards mammograms and diagnostic services. Donations of any amount can be in honor, or in memory, of someone special to you. They can be sent to: Pink Alliance, P.O. Box 6373, Bryan, TX 77805. If you have any questions, please call Reba Ragsdale, Treasurer at (979) 229-1200.