By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
On October 18, the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation will be sponsoring their 10th annual Pink Elephant Luncheon, an event whose purpose is to raise funds as well as awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Because one in eight women will be faced with this horrible disease, the Foundation would like to help lower this statistic, and find better methods for detection, care, and increasing life span. This year Athens High School Choir will be singing, and the Athens Fire Department will be bringing the pink fire truck as part of the day’s events. The special guest speaker will be Athens’ own Suzanne Brooks.
Suzanne spent 25 years as a teacher in our schools and recently retired. It was in the middle of her teaching career that breast cancer stepped into the “ring” of her life, and Suzanne fought back. She has been cancer-free for 17 years, and is going to share her story with the hope of gathering other warriors to fight, and encouraging those in the battle along with their families.
There was a time when breast cancer was considered to be the disease of only elderly women, affecting those who were 65-years old and above. Some oncologists say that with each passing decade, the age of women diagnosed by breast cancer has itself dropped a decade, with teenagers being stricken in the years 2000-2010. Sadly, two years ago an eight-year-old girl in Utah became the youngest person on record to have been diagnosed with it, and latest available information states that she is in remission.
In addition, it is now entirely possible for men to have breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, 2400 men will be stricken with the disease, and of those 2400, 400 will die. While it is true that 97% of the women who actually die from breast cancer are over the age of 40, still the death toll this year for female breast cancer will be close to 40,000, and from every age group. Thankfully there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and the Foundation is doing all it can to see that number increase.
Because early detection is one of the keys for survival, Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation has raised funds specifically designated to provide scholarships for mammograms, as well as procure the newest technologies to find it sooner. ALH Foundation started the Pink Elephant Fund ten years ago because they wanted to make sure residents of Limestone County who either have no medical insurance or whose insurance does not cover mammograms would have the opportunity to have this test at no charge. This has been especially helpful in recent years as insurance costs have sky-rocketed, or mammograms have been dropped from coverage altogether. However, this year they will be focusing on making it possible for the hospital to begin utilizing what is known as stereotactic breast biopsy, a much more accurate and minimally invasive out-patient diagnostic procedure.
In case you are not aware, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something that is now signified nationally by everything from pink garbage cans to football helmets, and the ALHF Pink Elephant luncheon is the best way locally to make a statement. Individual tickets for the luncheon are $30 and, in addition, there are a number of opportunities to be a sponsor. If you would like to be a mammogram scholarship sponsor, you can do so for $125. You will receive one ticket to the luncheon, and will be designated as a “Pink Table Top” sponsor.
The “Tickled Pink” designation is for a donation of $500, which includes 2 luncheon tickets, event day recognition, and having name/organization posted on the Pink Elephant Sponsor Board for the fiscal year.
The $1500 “Pretty In Pink” designation includes a luncheon table for 8, the same event day and Sponsor Board recognition, as well as inclusion in a full-page color ad in the Sunday News Courier. For $2500, the “Passionate Pink” sponsors will have 2 tables of 8, the same event day recognition, Sponsor Board recognition, News Courier recognition, name/organization posted on hospital digital donor wall, as well as further recognition in Foundation marketing campaigns.
With this opportunity to join the fight and honor those who have fought it, the Athens Limestone Hospital Foundation sincerely hopes you will come to the Limestone County Event Center on October 18 for the Pink Elephant Luncheon. For more information on purchasing tickets, being a sponsor, or getting a pink garbage can, please call Leah Beth McNutt at the Foundation Office at 256-233-9557.