Power of Pink-1

News and Tribune Publisher Bill Hanson and staff from the newspaper presented a check for more than $91,000 Wednesday at the Pat Harrison Resource Center in Jeffersonville. The money was raised through the newspaper’s annual Power of Pink gala to support breast cancer patients.

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Power of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Gala raised more than $91,000 this year to support breast cancer patients.

The money raised through Power of Pink, an annual event hosted by the News and Tribune, supports the Pat Harrison Resource Center in Jeffersonville, which is part of the Norton Cancer Institute. This year set a record for the amount of money raised from the event.

This was the eighth year for the gala, which took place Oct. 15. News and Tribune Publisher Bill Hanson and staff from the newspaper presented a check Wednesday to Norton.

Chief Development Officer for Norton Healthcare Lynnie Meyer said the partnership with Power of Pink funds a significant portion of the operating budget at the Pat Harrison Resource Center.

The usual gala did not take place last year due to COVID-19, and on resuming the gala this year, it was the “biggest year ever,” Meyer said.

“In our eighth year to have netted just over $90,000 is a very big impact,” she said.

The Pat Harrison Resource Center supports patients across the region, Meyer said. The center offers free support services such as financial assistance, financial literacy, prosthetics, wigs, support groups, music therapy, massage therapy and other things that “can help a patient as they navigate their course of treatment.”

Hanson came up with the idea of the Power of Pink fundraiser nine years ago. Both his parents died from cancer, and he “decided we had to do more as a newspaper and that we were capable of doing more.”

The first couple of years, Power of Pink supported the American Cancer Society, and it has supported the Pat Harrison Resource Center each following year. In total, the fundraiser has brought in about $330,000 over the years.

“Really, if it weren’t for the sponsors of the event and the people who come to the event and are willing to spend their money on the auctions and the other things we have going on, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we’ve been. It’s just a testament to this area and the people who live here — they care about their neighbors,” Hanson said.

This year, Power of Pink received some extra support from the community. Samtec Cares provided a grant of $20,000 and matched every dollar raised up to $20,000, Hanson said.

“So we did that, and then we also had an ambassador program that we’ve never done before, and that was very successful, and again, it’s just a testament to the people who live in this area,” he said. “I got on the phone and called some of my colleagues and friends in the area in the business sector, and not a one of them said no, and every one of them raised a good sum of money for this event.”

“So that made the difference this year,” he said. “It made it so that we were able to have a record year and put more money into the resource center, which critically needs our support.”

Meyer said the Norton Cancer Institute serves several thousand Southern Indiana patients a year.

“Cancer is a journey, and people go through weeks and months and sometimes years of treatment,” she said. “Typically once they’ve gone through this acute phase where they’ve had surgery or they’ve gone through chemotherapy or radiation, they still have secondary issues that we can help support them with. And these are services that are free, that are available to the community.”

The Pat Harrison Resource Center also offers support for the families of cancer patients, Meyer said.

“Families I think can be overwhelmed by a cancer diagnosis, and it’s hard for a family member to say, wait a minute, I need help too,” she said. “So [it’s] being able to have support groups here, to have services available for family members to help them better understand what their loved one is going through and also give them a little bit of support along the way.”

Julie Kruer, development and marketing coordinator for Norton Healthcare Foundation, said the Pat Harrison Resource Center is a “homey, non-clinical” space for those facing cancer.

“It’s just a wealth of resources that are here,” she said. “When you’re in a journey against cancer, the medicine is obviously very important to get through that, but there’s a lot of other support that’s needed to be able to maintain your spirit and just well-being and to deal with all the other pieces of it that come your way, like financial hardship and things like that.”

Hanson said even as the in-person event returned this year, many cancer survivors who typically attend did not go this year due to being immunocompromised.

“So we didn’t get to see a lot of the folks who come on a regular basis,” he said. “That was exciting to me in the sense that a bunch of new people came to the event, and we still had a record year. When we get back to some normal, whatever that is, I see this event just continuing to grow.”

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