Wow! What an incredible PINK OUT 5K thanks to our awesome community! Sign up and save on our 3rd Annual PINK OUT with 25% promo code on early bird pricing at: https://fundraise.checkforalump.org/PINKOUT2019
Many of you know I love to write a sappy letter with my thoughts and thanks following our events. To those who prefer the short version - Our PINK OUT 5K was a giant success!!! My deepest appreciation to every sponsor, participant, vendor, food truck, volunteer, band members, singer, board members and more. Our thanks to everyone who shares our values and believe that supporting and investing in our local community is the best value and branding! Thank you for believing in Don’t be a Chump! Check for a Lump! and helping us continue the circle of giving in our breast cancer community and beyond! Please send us pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who like my emotional version and want to hear our total here goes . . .
One year ago Komen left Arizona and their loss created a giant deficit for breast health resources in Arizona. I attended the stake-holders meeting and there were no answers on how to find funds for the 50,000 free mammograms Komen provided every year or the additional diagnostic testing and treatment they provided to women in need. The large cancer centers did not jump in and say, “We can help.” the hospitals and national non-profits did not jump in and say, “We can help.” I was the only local breast cancer non-profit in the room and knew that I could step in and provide a ‘PINK’ experience to help raise funds to help fill the gap. As a survivor myself, I knew survivors and their families treasure these Pink experiences as they uplift and inspire them in their journey. I also knew this was a monstrous undertaking!
A little over a year ago I was still a one-man band non-profit and the thought of this giant leap terrified me. I gave the decision deep consideration, reached out to mentors for advice and I prayed. I kept thinking about the conversation at the stake-holders meeting. “We can’t even provide free mammograms because we have no funds for treatment. We will have to tell women to go home and make peace.” This was unacceptable to me. If we provide a women a free a mammogram and she finds cancer in the early stages she has a chance to live, a chance to find discounted treatment, a chance to find a way to pay for her treatment. I could not step back and do nothing. Our non-profit was already immersed in the breast cancer community providing education, free wigs and occasionally hosting free mammogram events when funds permitted. Morally it was my duty to at least try.
I knew this would be an immense undertaking and way beyond my own capabilities. My father-in-law, Marvin Rose, had faith in my work and vision and loaned me a considerable amount of funds to take our non-profit to the next level – a terrifying step in itself! I hired staff to make this leap, including our VP of Development Desire’e Hardge, who lives and breathes our passion, values and mission, our outreach coordinator Laura Pentsa who fills our office with positivity, and recently our assistant Jessica Cadby, who is the perfect face of our non-profit who shares her ear to ear smile and yes attitude! We quickly brought on our “Big Wig” sponsors who help support all of our programs all year round including: Arizona Center for Reconstructive Breast Surgery, Arizona Oncology, Arizona Republic, SimonMed Imaging, Classy Sisters Wigs, Honor Health Virginia Piper Cancer Center and Spinato’s Pizza. We hired board training, paid for PR to enhance our branding, invested in networking meetings and more.
Over the course of the year in building up our race, sponsorships, teams, partnerships and participants we heard many responses – No, No thank you, No, Supporting national is better branding for us, No, Yes here’s our logo for print followed by No Payment (not very nice), and no responses at all.
We didn’t give up. We continued to network, cold call companies with emails and packages filled with letters and reports showing our impact and progress in eight years and the dire need to help us build up a new program to fill the Komen gap. Some days we were discouraged and filled with tears. We comforted and inspired each other to keep moving forward forward.
Other days when we were filled with fear of failure it was almost as if God sent us messages to keep going and beautiful testimonies from our clients would come in – “I read your magazine and it prompted me to schedule my overdue mammogram and I found an aggressive form of breast cancer in the early stages thanks to you.” “Your wellness workshop changed my family’s life. We made so many lifestyle changes to lower our risk. “ “Thank you so much for the gift of my new wig. I feel like myself again. I would not have been able to afford a wig and it’s so beautiful!” “Thank you for the free mammogram. I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t have the $167 to pay for one.”
And then we started to hear yes! Yes, we can support you. Our budget is spent this year, but let’s put you on the calendar for next year and we can help promote this year. Yes, we can provide free promotion for you! Yes, we would love to sponsor. Yes, we would love create a team. Yes, we want to create a fundraising team. Yes, please come share your wellness workshop to inspire our PINK OUT 5k team. Yes! Yes! Yes!
All of our hard work for a year was paying off! We arrived at 6:00am to a beautiful sunrise with perfect weather. Adv.fit was there to set up and create and orchestrate a wonderful course! We had over 150 volunteers come out to assist us with Fiesta Bowl Charities Spirit Mascot, Arizona Coyotes Paw Patrol Cheerleaders, 5 high school cheer teams, 3 brownie/daisy troupes, just about every chapter of the National Charity League mother/daughter philanthropic league bringing close to 100 of our volunteers and various company volunteers. Our vendor village was filled with over 30 local vendors and cancer resources, and food trucks. We can’t forget Mobile Onsite Mammography helping us to provide our free mammograms to women in the community! We provided 25 free mammograms at our PINK OUT 5K!
All morning I viewed faces filled with happiness, families and friends creating memories, women sharing their stories of strength with me and other, participants warming up to Club Pilates, crowds dancing to our awesome band New Wave Order, survivors celebrating life, and so many more joyous moments.
As I watched the participants streaming across the starting line for what seemed like and endless time period I choked back tears of joy! Near the end of the day I watched over the finish line and watched team after team get in pose of our pink starting line and take beautiful pictures. The entire amphitheater was filled with smiles. I was caught off guard by the emotions that welled up inside me and I broke into full blown tears. We did it! We took it to the next level. Our race was a success. We can help women with mammograms, wigs and education. Together we were making a difference in the fight against breast cancer.
Our PINK OUT 5K was a giant success!!! We raised $46,987.00!!!! And we still have company matching dollars that will be coming in. 100% of the profits will be invested back into our community with 50% providing free mammograms to women in need and 50% to free wigs for women battling breast cancer and free breast health education to help save lives! My deepest apprec