By JASON THOMAS
In Indiana, more than 4,200 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among U.S. females, affecting 1 in 8, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths — outside of skin cancers — among Hoosier women.
But these statistics, from the Indiana Cancer Consortium, represent more than numbers: they’re your sisters, your mothers, your aunts, your wives, your moms, your daughters.
They represent us.
For the first time, the Southern Indiana community is coming together on one night to put a dent in those statistics and place the disease on our collective conscience. The Power of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Gala, which is the result of the combined work of representatives of more than 20 businesses in Clark and Floyd counties, will be held Oct. 25 at Kye’s in Jeffersonville.
The formal gala will feature a reception, a catered dinner, an art show and auction, as well as live music by V-Groove. Most importantly, the benefactor will be the American Cancer Society. With a goal of raising no less than $10,000 for breast cancer treatment and education, this is Southern Indiana’s chance to give back.
Many involved in planning the event, including the News and Tribune, which is coordinating the gala, have been personally affected by cancer.
“Both of my parents died from cancer so it is a big deal to me,” said Bill Hanson, News and Tribune publisher. “The newspaper has had a tie to breast cancer awareness for several years, so this was a natural progression of the work we do and my personal passion to help eliminate cancer some day.”
In the past, the News and Tribune has produced a T-shirt and donated the money to the American Cancer Society, as well as producing a special section about survivors and the latest techniques to detect and treat breast cancer.
But it was time to step it up a notch “so we came up with the idea for the Power of Pink Gala,” Hanson said.
To make the event a reality, a title sponsor was needed. Larry Weiss of Elder Advisers quickly filled that role with financial and personal contributions. The company, which has partnered with the News and Tribune on the Woman of the Year program, readily agreed to host the gala.
“I’m very proud of the fact that I’m a member of the community, and as a member of the community, by sponsoring Power of Pink, it’s a way for Elder Advisers to say ‘thank you’ and give something back to the community. And, most certainly, we want to support the project of breast cancer awareness,” Weiss said.
Such a high-profile disease demands a high-class cause: The gala will feature an artist doing live ice-sculpting; and the works of area artists who have agreed to share proceeds of selling their pieces from the live auction to the American Cancer Society. For the non-dancers of the group, a lounge will be constructed to relax and mingle after dinner. Also, a special cocktail will be created with proceeds going to ACS.
“This is going to be a high-caliber event,” Hanson said, “with a portion of proceeds supporting a very important cause.”
Breast cancer affects us all. Although it is rare among males — approximately 2,000 cases occurred among U.S. males in 2011 and fewer than 40 cases of breast cancer occur among Indiana males each year — because men are prone to ignoring warning signs, they are often diagnosed at later stages and have poorer prognoses, according to the consortium.
“I’m willing to bet that everyone in this community has been affected by cancer in some form,” Hanson said. “The gala is the community’s chance to join together and collectively fight back against breast cancer, and really, all cancer.”
If you are interested in attending the gala or wish to supply merchandise or services for the live or silent auction, email Hanson at email@example.com.