Breast Cancer Alliance to show the power of pink

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the Breast Cancer Alliance (BCA) is illustrating the power of pink at its Annual Benefit Luncheon and Fashion Show and partnering with organizations around the community to raise funds for research.

The mission of the Greenwich-based Breast Cancer Alliance is to fund innovative breast cancer research and to promote breast health through education and outreach, and the organization’s 17th annual luncheon is “the place to be” on Oct. 25 at 11 a.m., according to Yonni Wattenmaker, executive director of the BCA.

The event will feature speakers, including noted author and reporter Lee Woodruff as keynote speaker, a silent auction, a meal, and, of course, a popular two-part fashion show sponsored by Richards of Greenwich that spotlights both models and local breast cancer survivors. This annual event usually draws approximately 300 attendees, Ms. Wattenmaker said, and is considered an excellent way to have a fun afternoon while also focusing on a serious cause and the work that needs to be done to combat the disease.

Additionally, for the first time since the inception of the luncheon, the event’s silent auction will premiere online at breastcanceralliance.org, allowing those who cannot attend to have a chance to contribute to the cause.

The fashion show remains the highlight of the event, Ms. Wattenmaker said. When survivors walk down the runway, celebrating their triumph, “there’s not a dry eye in the house,” she explained.

In addition to the breast cancer survivors featured in the fashion show, there will be plenty of others in the audience. There will be women attending who are still undergoing treatment who do not yet consider themselves survivors, while others there are quiet about overcoming the disease, Ms. Wattenmaker said. With one in eight women currently being diagnosed with breast cancer, the number of those attending the luncheon who have battled the disease is “higher than we’d like it to be,” she said.

The BCA is also grateful to be the recipient of proceeds from several breast cancer fund-raising projects taking place around the community, Ms. Wattenmaker explained. “There’s a lot happening in and around town.”

Vineyard Vines, for example, is selling items from its “Think Pink Collection,” which includes men’s and women’s polo shirts as well as a breast cancer awareness-themed bracelet and tie, 30% of the proceeds of which will be donated to the BCA.

Similarly, local jewelry maker Scotty Reiss has specially designed a ring that will help raise funds for the BCA.

Even Brighton, a widely known accessories retailer, has joined the cause, offering a $50 breast cancer awareness bracelet, $10 of which will be donated to various breast cancer organizations, including the BCA, Ms. Wattenmaker said.

The BCA is lucky enough to have many of the community organizations it has partnered with act as the initiator of the union, which happens because, unfortunately, almost everyone is touched in some way by breast cancer, and “people want to do their part,” she added.

The town also helped celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by raising a pink BCA flag at Town Hall Wednesday morning, where it will wave throughout the month as a reminder of the disease’s impact on the community.

The fact that one in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer is “staggering” and “the BCA’s whole mission is to support people in the throes of cancer by helping to get them the navigation services they need,” especially if they are uninsured and have no one else to turn to, Ms. Wattenmaker said. In order to do so, people must be aware of the alliance’s resources, which is what makes Breast Cancer Awareness Month so important, she said. If more women are aware, more of them will be able to prevent breast cancer through screening and diagnostic mammograms.

Furthermore, she said, the BCA is a unique organization in that it funds fellowships for breast surgeons who spend a year training in breast cancer surgery. Ultimately, data has shown that patients cared for by surgeons who specialize in breast treatment have a higher quality of life and a higher rate of survival because their doctors perform hundreds of the surgeries each year, Ms. Wattenmaker explained.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings more awareness to what we do, and the more funding that we have the more possibilities we can provide for the Greenwich community but also the greater community, and that’s why we exist,” she said.

The BCA’s Annual Benefit Luncheon and Fashion Show will be held Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich. Ticket prices start at $300 and table prices start at $5,000.

To request an invitation or to make a donation, call the BCA office at 203-861-0014 or e-mail [email protected]

The organization is always in need of volunteers. To apply, contact [email protected]

 

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