JEFFERSONVILLE — This year's Power of Pink Gala is set to be a spectacular celebration of life, honor and remembrance for breast cancer survivors, loved ones and others touched by the disease.
The event, in its fifth year, will kick off Friday, Oct. 20, with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30, and a silent auction running through the evening. It will be held at Kye's in Jeffersonville and feature the live stylings of The Gatsby Gang Jazz Band.
This will also be the third year that the gala has sold out — which means more funds available to help men and women in the area living with cancer get the support they need.
The first four years of the gala brought in more than $120,000, and each year that contribution grows.
Last year's was a little over $47,000, beating the previous $35,000. News and Tribune publisher Bill Hanson said he's shooting for at least $50,000 from the 2017 event.
“I'm very pleased that we've had the incredible support of the business community and individuals to help keep the fundraising going,” he said. “I think it's such an incredible gift that we can give people and it doesn't cost any one of us a lot of money if we chip in at the same time.”
The first two years, proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society. Since 2015, funding has gone to support the Norton Pat Harrison Cancer Resource Center, which provides a wealth of free services to people living with cancer — wigs, prosthetics, music and art therapy, massages, and many free classes.
“Every dollar we raise is one more person helped in some fashion, whether it's a massage for tired, achy muscles going through chemotherapy or music therapy, just to calm their minds," Hanson said.
“Everything you get there is free. There are a lot of people with a lot of burdens when they're dealing with cancer, and they shouldn't have to worry about [whether] they have enough money to buy a headscarf to maintain their dignity.”
Pat Harrison, namesake of the resource center who's celebrating four-and-a-half years cancer-free, said the facility has already helped so many people and she wants to see it continue.
“It's a wonderful center,” she said. “They've done a beautiful job of keeping it the way it should be — it's very friendly and peaceful, you feel good when you're there.”
She talked of a man with prostate cancer who was referred there.
“He went in for a massage," Harrison said. "And he said he never thought in this world he'd have a massage, but it made him feel better. So many people have called me [before] that had no place to go, and now they have a place to [go where they can] talk about their problems.
“If I would have had that venue to go to, it would have been a different attitude for me.”
She said that although we still don't have a cure, she's so happy to see awareness and support of those with cancer getting stronger. And she's thankful to see some of the core fundraising groups — such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Gilda's Club, named after the late Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner — thriving.
“Women are very powerful when it comes to what they can do,” Harrison said. “And it's all good. You can't do enough to get rid of cancer. Every time you hear somebody come up with something, you're thrilled because that's a step closer.”
And the Power of Pink Gala will be another great way to show support, as well as a time to celebrate, she said.
“I enjoy being there with my friends and networking and seeing everybody's smiling faces,” Harrison said. “It's just a nice evening with good people.”
Hanson said he looks forward to the night being a success.
“I tell everybody when they ask about it, it's a party for a cause,” he said. “It's just a time to get together and have fun and raise some money.
“More than anything, I want people to realize that cancer is not going to go away and we have to continue to fight the battle for those who can't do it themselves.”