The Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital supported the Pink Ribbon Society’s 27th annual Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon on Sunday, September 25 at Avalon Manor Banquet Center in Merrillville, Indiana.
Complete with vendors, raffles, an award ceremony, and an announcement of the women that will be featured in the 2023 Breast Cancer Survivors’ Calendar, the event pays tribute to Northwest Indiana women who are survivors of breast cancer.
At the event, “celebrity” servers from sponsoring organizations serve as wait staff for the luncheon. Methodist’s server this year was Lauren Trumbo, the hospitals’ Chief Financial Officer.
“Coming to this event, we can hear survivor stories, but it’s also about getting awareness on prevention. Prevention saves lives,” Trumbo said. “This is a great event whether you or a family member have dealt with any form of cancer, specifically breast cancer. ”
Survivors shared their personal stories with the guests to provide support and encouragement to current patients as well as spread awareness to those who are unaware of how breast cancer affects those diagnosed and their families.
Evelyn Cole, a guest at the event who is a seven-year breast cancer survivor, has also served as a Methodist Hospitals volunteer at Methodist’s Breast Care Center.
“I have worked closely with the staff in both the oncology area and breast center. I was a volunteer there for a long time and I’ve helped with all programs that are open to the public. We never expect a cancer diagnosis, no matter what it is or what age we are. I tell women - don’t worry about your age; get in there and find out and make sure you’re healthy,” Cole said.
The Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center strives to promote breast cancer awareness and sees support of the Pink Ribbon Society as an important part of that effort.
Jennifer Sanders, manager of Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center, has been doing this event with the Pink Ribbon Society for over 15 years. “I’ve watched The Pink Ribbon change women’s lives and I am so blessed to be part of this event,” Sanders said.
It’s phenomenal to see the level of participation in this event. There are so many people that come to it, and you can tell it’s a meaningful cause,” Sanders said.
Sanders is motivated by her passion for saving lives and helping spread information that educates women on the importance of receiving their yearly mammogram .
“My passion is more about women following the guidelines and everyone having mammograms. That’s what I do it for. I want women to make sure that they’re taking care of themselves. They are mothers, wives, and sisters, and they have a lot of people depending on them. They need to be healthy to do that. That is why we appreciate what the The Pink Ribbon Society does for the community. This community would not be where we are without them,” Sanders said.
Ann Peters, founder and president of the Pink Ribbon Society, is a 45-year survivor who has always wanted to pay it forward to those who might need assistance. Established in 2001, The Pink Ribbon Society is a foundation that helps pay for mammograms, ultrasounds, and wigs.
“We pay for wigs for women who lose their hair during treatment. Some insurance companies don’t want to pay for wigs. They consider it cosmetic, and they don’t cover that,” Peters said.
“We hold this event to raise money and to honor survivors and that’s a big deal. This year, we have 12 new calendar girls, and we are also honoring Mary Anne LaHayne. Mary Anne is going to receive an award called the Gillespie award,” Peters said.
This is the event’s second year presenting the Dorothy Marie Gillespie Humanitarian Award.
“It was named after a woman who was a passionate breast cancer advocate. After her unfortunate death in 2020 from COVID-19, we created an award to acknowledge her very instrumental role in helping other people survive,” Peters said.
For more information about The Pink Ribbon Society, visit pinkribbonsociety.org
For more information about Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals, visit methodisthospitals.org.