Bill Hanson

Bill Hanson

We asked. They delivered.

Recently, Power of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Gala committee members agreed to try something new. We decided to try to raise funds for our cause with an ambassador program. The idea is pretty straightforward… find some influential folks, ask them to raise money for your cause and hope for the best.

Maybe I should begin at the start, or is it start at the beginning? Either way, here’s the deal: The Power of Pink Gala is entering its eighth year of existence. We took a hiatus last year thanks to COVID-19. All told, we have raised more than $275,000 to help educate people about breast cancer and support families dealing with the disease. Since 2015, we have supported the Norton Cancer Institute Pat Harrison Resource Center, donating more than $235,000 thanks to support from across Clark and Floyd counties.

Because we knew that not everyone is ready to start socializing again, we decided early on that physical attendance at the Gala might be less than previous years. A good thing in that it allows us to safely position tables to help make social distancing much easier. Unfortunately, we decided, lower attendance could mean fewer dollars raised to fight a disease that doesn’t take a break.

Enter the Power of Pink Ambassadors. These nine people will be the difference makers for our event in 2021. Tasked with raising $1,000 each through soliciting donations, these community-minded men and women have done yeoman’s work in a very short time. As of Wednesday morning, they had raised $10,434. Thanks to a matching grant through Samtec Cares, that number sat at $20,868 as of this writing.

The amazing part of this story is twofold: decision-makers at Samtec Cares saw our cause as important enough to offer an incredibly generous $20,000 matching grant for our 2021 Gala. It is as if they knew our numbers might suffer due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. Then, with zero potential for self-gain, our ambassadors made our cause their own and ran with it. They have until Oct. 14 to raise money. I am certain, knowing many of these folks like I do, that our number will continue to grow right up until that day.

So, where is all that money spent? Not on a financially-bloated national organization. Not to pay CEO salaries. It goes to fund the products and services provided at the Norton Cancer Institute Pat Harrison Resource Center in Jeffersonville. The Center opened in February 2016. Since that time, it has had more than 10,000 interactions with men and women facing cancer. The money we raise goes to purchase/fund such things as chemotherapy turbans/hats, art supplies for art therapy classes, mastectomy bras, wigs, exercise sessions and mastectomy prosthetics. Those items are then made available to citizens in our area fighting cancer… free of charge.

Our 2021 Ambassadors have surpassed our most hopeful dreams for this program – and they are still at it. We could use your help, too. How? You could purchase tickets to the gala. I promise, you will not attend another event more beautifully decorated or emotionally moving this year. You can pick one of our ambassadors and make a donation in their name. It really doesn’t matter which one. Just pick one and donate. You can eat at any Southern Indiana Tumbleweed Restaurant on Oct. 6 during their “giveback day” when they will donate 15 percent of every purchase back to the Power of Pink.

If you have faced cancer in your life or have stood beside a loved one fighting cancer, you know how difficult and lonely that battle can be. This is an opportunity for you to help fight this fight for those you care about. Simply go to your computer and log on to PowerOfPinkSI.com and learn more about our ambassadors and how you can help. Every dollar you commit will help someone in the area we call home in their war with cancer.

Hanson is the publisher of the News and Tribune. He can be reached at bill.hanson@newsandtribune.com.

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