How the “PINK Party” came to be.
It was a busy, August day, I had just gotten back from a fast trip over to Western New York State wine/grape country from some juice when my phone rang. I was tired I had left about 4:00am, by 3:00 in the afternoon the day was getting long especially in the heat. My wife Michelle had gone to the Doctor to get some test results, her voice on the phone was weak and tearful, “I’ve got cancer”. I dropped to my knees on the back dock of our winery. I had not gone with her, the general consensus was they were just calcium deposits….we were wrong. The 20 minute drive she had back from town seemed liked an eternity.
Were my daughters going to lose their Mother? I didn’t know how to react really. I mean I didn’t know enough about anything to be afraid or confident, angry or stoic. My brother had lost his wife the prior year after a long battle. Was this our future? My wife’s Mother was winning her battle, was this our future? My wife’s Grandmother on her Father’s side died from it in the 1940′s. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.
This post is not “About Us”, we survived. It is about what we…..mostly “she” did to fight back. The December after that August my wife Michelle had a double mastectomy. We were lucky no Kemo, no Radiation. The following spring then June final reconstructive surgery. In July she walked 60 miles in Cleveland in three days raising over $4,000.00. She has done that every year since in one city or another. I have helped by supporting her, being a Susan G. Komen crew member and last year for my first time I walked along side my survivor in the 100 degree heat of the Twin Cities as a walker myself. That is what the PINK Party is about and so much more.
One thing I learned about the Susan G. Komen walk was it was about so much more than just money. When you spend three days together with about a thousand of your closest friends on street corners, sidewalks, parking lots, parks, tents, portable showers, tents and porta jons volumes can be spoken with just eye contact. Yea, you raised a pretty good chunk of change to get there but it isn’t really about the money, it is about the journey. And the PINK Party is part of that journey for us.
For me the raising money sorta sucks, but it taught me a lesson. It is good to be humble and ask for help if it causes someone to think about something they would rather not think about and maybe it saves their life. My wife was lucky, early detection at least saved her from a much more gruesome path we saw others take, maybe it saved her life? So while the party is about raising money, the cliche’ of raising awareness is even more important because in this case that awareness is personal. If we touch one person that night, if one person is moved to action we truly have already taken our first steps, the following sixty miles are easy.
It’s harder to hate someone if you know them, it is harder to be afraid of something if you are smiling. We are serious about this fight but it doesn’t mean we don’t laugh along the way, we use it as a weapon in our arsenal. The PINK Party is about serious business, it is about doing our part to save lives but we also try and have a good laugh along the way. Laughter rejuvenates, laughter makes you stronger, laughter helps you fight.
We play games like “Hands up” / “Hands Down”. You pay to play but if you are the last one standing you go home with a Big Screen T.V.
The Big Screen T.V. was purchased and donated by Maize Valley staff member and good friend Scott Mann. Scott and Michelle hatched the idea for the “PINK Party” event over the previous winter. Many great people came together to make the evening greater than the sum of its parts.
A great number of local area businesses also stepped up to help out. Doreen Leaf Designs and Bridal Bouquet donated Tuxes for the guys to wear that evening and countless others donated door prizes, massages, and makeovers. We even had a belly dancer out demonstrate her trade and how it applied to art and fitness.
In the end they even managed to make this farmer look pretty good and that is a hard thing to do standing next to this lady, my survivor Michelle.
As I mentioned it took me a while to really understand the impact a night like this could have on people. Our actions that evening while focused on the obvious purpose of raising money also moved people to be multipliers and that was our real accomplishment. We raised over $7,000.00 that night all told. We thank all the participants, guests and friends who came out to make that possible. We took that money and some more and donated it to the Susan G. Komen foundation and participated in the 3 Day for the cure walk in the Twin Cities. We also mention we paid our travel expenses, hotel and meals while on the trip out of our own pocket, not as a badge of honor but just so folks know we tried to put all their donations toward the “main thing”.
Along the walk we met many friends, and heard many stories of personal loss and triumph. With your help we may again do it again in 2014, thank you for your time spent here reading this and hope to see you at the “PINK Party“!
Thanks again, next post I will talk a little bit more about the walk itself, what happens and why we have chosen this particular charity. Take care, BB