October 19, 2017

Thinking Pink in October


October is a month full of vibrant colors; red, orange, yellow, and …. pink. Yes, I said pink. While October is known for its beautiful foliage, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, “breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.” Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12 percent. And men, don’t think you’re off the hook. While breast cancer is less common in men, it can still happen.

So how can you prepare yourself for such a life changing event? The key is early detection. I met with three of our local breast cancer survivors; Angie Ballance, Amber Schultz, and Kimberly Martin, to discuss it and they can all agree the self-exams are number one when it comes to detecting this disease.

“My lump appeared out of nowhere,” Angie said.

“I had a sore spot that I was ignoring,” added Amber.

Kimberly included that she was feeling a “tingling sensation.”

So, what are you looking for exactly? Anything that feels abnormal to you. You know your body. When in doubt, get it checked out.

According to the American Cancer Society, “while mammograms are the best form of screening, it does have limitations. Overall screening mammograms do not find about 1 in 5 breast cancers. A false-positive mammogram looks abnormal even though no cancer is actually present. These cases require extra testing.”

“I found my lump days after my annual exam. That is how quickly it showed up,” said Amber. “My lump was not there one day and was there the next,” Angie said. That is why self-exams are so important. How often should you perform a self-exam? It is suggested by the Maurer Foundation that you check at least once a month and around the same time period each month. For more information on breast cancer and to download a print-friendly version of how to do a breast self-exam visit maurerfoundation.org.

The search for the cause and a cure continues. What can you do to help?  It’s always a good idea to start local.

You can always make straight donations to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation.   HICF is an organization that helps cancer patients with medial bills and prescriptions not covered by insurance and travel expenses to and from treatment.   All three women had nothing but praises for this organization. You can also look at your local businesses to support the cause.

Many restaurants have joined the HICF “Drink Pink” campaign during the month of October and created drink specials with all the proceeds or a portion of going to HICF:

  • Breakwater Restaurant – Ask your server about Breakwater's Grapefruit Crush Pink Drink.
  • Capt'n Rolo's Raw Bar and Grill - Ask your server about their Drink Pink beverage.
  • Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop - created “The Pink Turtle” a strawberry, white chocolate milkshake drink with whipped cream. Plus, they are selling pink mugs. All proceeds from these sales go to HICF.
  • Diamond Shoals -   Ask your server about their Drink Pink beverage.
  • Dinky’s Waterfront Restaurant - Ask your server about Breakwater's Grapefruit Crush Pink Drink.
  • Gidget’s Pizza and Pasta -  Is donating any sales of their Drink Pink Flight which includes A Sampling of 3 Wines - Matchbook Rosť of Tempranillo, Lady Lola Rosť and Ch St Roseline Love de Rosť to HICF.
  • Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill - Features a Save the Ta-Tas Pink Martini .
  • Ketch 55 - The original creator of the “pink drink” campaign, is making their annual “Ta-Ta Martinis” along with a new “Chambord Bellini” drink to support pancreatic cancer. Total sales of both drinks in October go to HICF.
  • Mad Crabber - Ask your server about their Drink Pink beverage.
  • Pangea’s Tavern – is offering Sky Pink - Carolina Brewery’s Sky Blue Beer Turned Pink
  • Turner’s High Moon Bar - is featuring a weekly “pink drink” in October.  $2 of every “pink drink” sale will be donated to HICF.

In addition to the Drink Pink Campaign, here is a list of other ongoing October HICF fundraisers you can also join in to help support the cause:

  • Spa Koru is holding a Pink SUP Raffle from October 1st through 28th 2017
  • Albatross Fleet is hosting an event in correlation with The Albatross Fall Female Classic fishing tournament. The Albatross II and III and their crews will hold an onboard picnic breakfast and lunch on October 28th, 2017. The cost is $250 per person with all proceeds going to HICF. They are inviting businesses to participate by sponsoring an angler or even a boat. They are welcoming souvenirs for gift bags (12 total) and will accept additional monetary donations on behalf of HICF. You can contact Lynne Foster at 252-986-2515 for further information.
  • Stu’s Donuts created a “pink donut” and they will donate the proceeds from October sales to HICF.

Below is a complete list of Hatteras Island Cancer Foundations fundraisers:

  • Annual Spring Dance: The Spring Dance is typically held in April and features entertainment, a buffet dinner and a silent auction.
  • Coins for Cancer: This interactive fundraiser is held at the Cape Hatteras Elementary School in Buxton.  Students are encouraged to bring in spare change, (with permission for their parents/guardians), to put in a bucket provided for each classroom, for one week in May.  Each day, the classroom’s bucket totals are tallied and announced the next morning.  At the end of the week, the classroom that raised the most “Coins for Cancer” wins a party for their class.
  • 50/50 Raffles: During the months of May & June, HICF sells 50/50 raffle tickets at several local fishing tournaments, including the Hatteras Village Offshore Open, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament and the Marlin Club Tournament.
  • Big Rock Cookout: During the week of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, HICF hosts a barbeque fundraiser in Hatteras Village.  Plates are $20 and include dinner, a drink and dessert. The dinner and drinks are donated by Dinky’s Waterfront Restaurant and HICF board members donate the desserts.
  • Custom Rod Raffle: Each year, Teach’s Lair Marina donates a custom fishing rod for HICF to raffle off.  Tickets are sold from July through the Chowder Cook-off in September.
  • Chowder Cook-off:  During the Hatteras village Day at the Docks celebration, HICF hosts the annual Chowder Cook-off.  Restaurants from across the island bring their best chowders to the competition.  People purchase tickets for $5 to enter the chowder tent, taste the various chowders and vote for their favorite. 
  • Positively Pink HICF 5K:  Each October, HICF hosts the annual race in Avon.  The 3.1 mile run/walk is themed “Think Pink” in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness.  This is one of HICF’s most successful fundraiser, gaining much support from the community.  The event also includes food, music and door prizes.
  • Drink Pink: During the month of October (breast cancer awareness month), restaurants across the island support HICF by including a special pink drink on their menus. HICF encourages locals and visitors to sample the various drinks (responsibly of course) from the different locations.  Each restaurant donates a portion of their pink drink sales to HICF.
  • Fish Like a Girl: The Avon Pier, Koru Village & Pangea Tavern partner with HICF to host an all-girl fishing tournament on the Avon Pier.  Funds raised from the tournament are donated to HICF.
  • Donation Jars: HICF has one donation jar at Island Convenience in Rodanthe.  Other establishments are welcomed to join in by adding a jar to their establishment!
  • Amazon Smile: HICF encourages supporters to shop through Amazon Smile program, donating a portion of their purchase to the foundation.
“Donating outside of the island helps too,” said Angie.

Other organizations the ladies mentioned that either helped them or people they know, whether it be financially, a support system or research efforts include:
I asked the ladies what their opinions were on the sales of “pink items”. While the organizations may not make a big profit on these items, all three agreed they are worth purchasing.

“I may be walking down the road in my pink breast cancer shirt and remind a lady driving by that she needs to make her mammogram appointment,” Angie said.

“Yea, the more it is in your face, the more likely you are to react to it,” added Amber.
Some closing words of advice from the ladies; “keep a positive attitude and surround yourself with a good support system. It can be more than just your family,” said Angie.

“Don’t wait. If you think something is unusual get it checked out. Stay positive. The people you lose is the thing that makes it the hardest. Once you’re down though it’s hard to get back up again. Try to help someone through their journey,” said Amber.
If you or someone close to you becomes diagnosed with cancer or you are a cancer survivor you can always reach out to the Survivor Sisters. A group that all three ladies are a part of that provides support. They have a private Facebook page that you can ask to join. They encourage you to reach out to them as a group or individually. You can also read about their journeys in their blogs, keepingballance.blogspot.com or Positively Pink with a Daughter of the King on Facebook.

They kept these blogs to show inspiration, show others the paths ahead of them, as a coping mechanism for themselves and a way to show others they are never alone in their situation. 

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