Pink Party Kicks Off Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Brennah Dallaire

The Hartford Courant hosted the Sixth Annual Pink Party at West Hartford’s Blue Back Square on Thursday. The fundraiser benefits Susan G. Komen New England and supports breast cancer care,  research and awareness.

“The money we raise goes to help Connecticut residents, and finding those cures, and helping our neighbors,” said Jessica Fisher,
associate director of communications at Susan G. Komen New England.

According to Fisher, 75 percent of the money donated to Susan G. Komen New England will be given out as grants to local organizations to be used for screening and diagnostic services as well as other services. The other 25 percent will go to research.

According to Fisher, the Pink Party is an opportunity for survivors to network with other survivors, create friendships and kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Connecticut.

Attendees donning pink apparel began to gather at Blue Back Square just before the  event was scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. Exhibitors set up pink tents along Isham Road and the parking lot located behind The Cheesecake Factory. The event featured a pink carpet, hydration station, raffles and freebies from exhibitors. Pink Party T-shirts and raffles were sold as fundraising tools.

The main event of the night, the Breast Cancer Survivors Fashion Show began at 6 p.m. just after a performance by the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory. Women surviving breast cancer, as young as 24 years old, strutted their stuff, wearing clothes donated by BK & Co. with makeup and hair styling donated by Blo Blow Dry Bar and Gulgiotti’s Salon and and Spa.

Nora’s Cupcakes gave away coconut, chocolate and raspberry cupcakes with pink decorations to celebrate the night. Bar Louie and World of Beer provided free appetizers to guests and The Cheesecake Factory gave away pumpkin cheesecake samples. The Shaded Soul band performed. Thistle + Reed, a mobile clothing store set, up shop for guests of the event.

“When we first started, one of the avenues that we wanted to pursue was giving back to our local communities and supporting our local communities… since I was fourteen I’ve starting doing breast cancer walks so it’s been a part of my life,” Marisa O’Brien, co-owner of Thistle + Reed said.

Towana Haynes, director of operations at Radiology Associates of Hartford has a few tips for Central Connecticut State University Students about breast cancer awareness and preventative care.

  1. Stay up to date on check-ups with your physician.
  2. Be proactive in your health. If you have a concern bring it up to your doctor. Women and men in their 20s are not immune to breast cancer.
  3. Women, beginning at age 35, should schedule a mammogram. You are also eligible for a mammogram 10 years prior to a parents diagnosis of breast cancer. (Ex. If a parent was diagnosed at 30 years old, you are eligible at 20 years old.)
  4. Self exams are important and can be done in the shower, after the shower or lying down.
  5. Be aware of your body and any abnormal changes to your breasts and armpit area.

The Susan G. Komen website also recommends asking your doctor about BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Women with this inherited gene mutation are more likely to develop breast cancer.

If you are interested in getting involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month there are plenty of local events. Bar Louie West Hartford is hosting “Slay Then Chardonnay” on Oct. 12, a party benefitting breast cancer research. The American Cancer Society is hosting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 18 at Bushnell Park, Hartford. Bra maker Wacoal is donating $2 to Susan G. Komen for every bra fitting done at Macy’s Westfarms on Oct. 11 and an additional $2 from every bra sold. Susan G. Komen will also be hosting a breast cancer symposium in New Haven on Nov. 17.

If you have any questions regarding breast health or breast cancer you can call the American Cancer Society’s 24/7 hotline 800-227-2345.