By JASON THOMAS
Tune in to any NFL game this month, and you’re likely to see athletes and coaches decked out in pink-themed uniforms or wearing pink-hued accessories.
While the NFL’s partnership with the American Cancer Society and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s pink-themed initiative — each held every October — have gained national traction, a local event is creating its own buzz.
The inaugural Power of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Gala is Southern Indiana’s chance to battle a disease that affects one in eight females in the U.S., including 4,200 women in Indiana who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The 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.
“Breast cancer is a wicked disease,” said Mike Rowe, of Denzinger Family Dentistry, which is a primary sponsor of the event. “It robs us of the people we love most ... our wives, daughters and mothers. And, in many cases, early detection can make all the difference.”
Like the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” partnership with the American Cancer Society, one of the gala’s chief goals is to raise awareness about the importance of screenings, as well as encouraging the community to open its pocketbooks. A portion of the gala’s proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society [ACS], with a goal of raising no less than $10,000 for breast cancer treatment and education.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that most people have somehow been touched by cancer, especially breast cancer,” said Stephanie Feger, director, communications strategy planning with the organization. “Not only does the Power of Pink Gala give community members the opportunity to fight back against this disease by making a financial contribution to the cause, but it also raises awareness about this disease, which is critical in educating individuals about appropriate screenings and the importance of being on top of your health.”
The formal gala, which is being coordinated by the News and Tribune — Elder Advisers is the title sponsor — will feature a reception, a catered dinner, an art show and auction, as well as live music by V-Groove.
Such a high-profile disease demands a high-class cause: The gala will feature an artist doing live ice-sculpting; additionally, the works of area artists who have agreed to share proceeds from selling their pieces from the live auction will be donated to ACS. For the nondancers of the group, a lounge will be constructed to relax and mingle after dinner. For your sipping pleasure, a special cocktail will be created with proceeds going to ACS.
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 — men are often diagnosed at later stages and have poorer prognoses because they are prone to ignoring warning signs, according to the Indiana Cancer Consortium.
Many involved in planning and supporting the gala have lost someone to breast cancer, or know someone battling the disease. They include Rowe, who lost his mother to breast cancer in 1996. His mother-in-law is successfully battling the disease.
Together, Southern Indiana can make a difference.
“One in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help or support,” Feger said. “Thanks to funds raised through the Power of Pink Gala and other efforts, such as our ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ walk, the society can continue to provide those touched by this disease the resources and support when they need it most.”