If anything is certain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the past year has been a powerful reminder to everyone that we are all in this together. Our choices and actions have been the power to protect the most vulnerable amongst us in a big way. The same holds true when it comes to breast cancer.
Unfortunately, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer. Many women every day, struggle with the treacherous lifestyle that they are forced to deal with while on that journey.
In 2021, there have been about 281,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer that are or will be diagnosed and about 49,290 new cases of arcinoma in situ (CIS) that will be diagnosed in women (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
Thankfully, there are many organizations out there that are dedicated to helping women and their families during their time of need. For those who want to help, these incredible organizations throughout the state of Connecticut will be holding events in the upcoming weeks to support breast cancer.
1st Annual Headlights & High Beams Car Show
October 9, 2021 – Guilford
On October 9, 2021, at The Guilford Fair & Fairgrounds on 111 Lovers Lane in Guilford, will be the 1st annual Headlights & High Beams Car Show. This event is hosted by The Edward Riccio Foundation, CT Shoreline Cars & Coffee, Team Pff, and the Rusty Nuts Cruisers.
At this event, there will be music, food trucks, trophies, and raffle prizes. The first 200 cars to register, they will get a free goodie bag. All proceeds from this event will go to the Smilow Breast Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Tickets are $10 a person and can be purchased here on the website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/headlights-highbeams-car-show-tickets-148842047571
The mission of The Edward Riccio Foundation is to honor his life by acts of community and charity. Throughout the year, the foundation holds fundraising events to benefit causes that were dear to Eddie’s heart that included mental health programs, cancer research, and the ongoing fight against domestic and sexual violence.
To learn more about the foundation, you can visit their website here
Breast Cancer Alliance – Fashion Show and Luncheon
October 20, 2021
Breast Cancer Alliance (BCA) was founded in 1996, and its very first fundraiser was a luncheon fashion show, in cooperation with Neiman Marcus and fashions by Carolina Herrera. The event was such a success, that 25 years later, it remains BCA’s signature event.
In 2019, BCA saw an attendance list of 1100 and unfortunately had to switch to a fully virtual event in 2020. For this year, BCA is planning a hybrid event for Wednesday, October 20. The in-person event will be held for a smaller crowd at the Westchester Country Club (pending COVID guidelines) with a virtual livestream option for those who live too far away to come or are more comfortable joining from home.
“Richards, now our partner of 15 years, is producing the fashion show with an elegant finale by Michael Kors, celebrating his 40 years as a designer,” said Yonni Wattenmaker, Executive Director for Breast Cancer Alliance. “Hoda Kotb will share a special message, Julius Thomas III will perform a song from Hamilton, and there are other surprises are in store.”
The luncheon will also feature a raffle, silent and live auction, and music by DJ April Larken.
The highlight of the day is the Models of Inspiration segment. Women and men who have had, or are living with breast cancer, share their stories and take to the runway, outfitted by Richards.
All money raised from the luncheon will go to BCA grants for 2022: innovative research, breast surgical fellowships, and education and outreach programs for underserved patients in need of essential breast cancer care. To learn more about Breast Cancer Alliance and the fashion show luncheon, or to make a general donation, you can visit here
The Valley Goes Pink – Bingo Night, October 26
On Tuesday, October 26, from 6-9 p.m. at The Hops Company in Derby, there will be Bingo Night to support Griffin Health’s The Valley Goes Pink.
The Valley Goes Pink is a grassroots, community-wide effort in the Greater Naugatuck Valley region to create awareness about breast cancer. It is also for the importance of awareness of early detection, supporting the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital and to showcase partnering organizations and individuals.
“Breast cancer doesn’t take a day off and neither will we!” said Lisa Nista, Special Events Coordinator for Griffin Hospital Development Fund.
“That’s why The Valley Goes Pink will now be a year-round initiative instead of just in the month of October.”
The calendar for this organization is usually more filled, but due to COVID-19, they are unsure of what else will be planned for in-person events. In the past, they have held paint and sips, outdoor yoga, and are currently working on some dates with The Bare Slate in Shelton for in-studio workshops to benefit the organization for mid-October to mid-November. The local area schools also get involved with VGP with pep rallies, “pink” days, bake sales, volleyball games, and more. Local businesses will also get involved with their own fundraisers or simply send a company donation.
To know more about Valley Goes Pink, you can visit their website here
Are You Dense? – For The Girls, event to be held
Are You Dense will be holding an event titled, “For the Girls” to be held sometime in November at the Grand Oak Villa in Oakville. More information is to be released over the next few weeks on their website here.
Are You Dense began with Dr. Nancy Capello, who was diagnosed with dense breast tissue in 2004. Nancy had gone for normal mammography scans, and everything had turned up “normal.” It wasn’t until she had different scans that her dense breast tissue was discovered. During her time, she had gone through a mastectomy, reconstruction, 8 chemotherapy treatments, and 24 radiation treatments. The pathology report had confirmed stage 3c cancer, because the cancer had traveled outside of the breast and to the lymph nodes. Eight lymph nodes had been removed and thirteen contained cancers. Nancy had gone on a quest for research and discovered that for nearly a decade before her diagnosis, six major studies with over 42,000 women concluded that by supplementing a mammogram with an ultrasound increases detection from 48% to 97% for women with dense tissue.
She also learned that women with extremely dense tissue are 5x more likely to have breast cancer when compared with women with fatty breasts, and that research on dense breast tissue as an independent risk factor for breast cancer has been studied since the mid 70s.
Unfortunately, Nancy’s battled ended in 2018 when she passed away. Due to the event surrounding Nancy, her husband Joe, along with the Are You Dense group, decided to take this matter to CT Legislative. It was in 2009 that an act was passed requiring communication of mammographic breast density information to patients. This became effective October 2009.
This act states, “Each individual health insurance policy providing coverage to provide benefits for mammographic examinations to any woman covered under the policy which are at least equal to the following under the minimum requirements. This policy shall also provide additional benefits for comprehensive ultrasound screening of an entire breast or breasts if a mammogram demonstrates heterogeneous or dense breast tissue based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology or if a woman is believed to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing, or other indications as determined by woman’s physician or advanced practice registered nurse.”
This act has also been passed in other states, which include 38 states of legislations. The national law was passed in Washington. The law indicated that if a person has dense breast tissue, they must be told they have and there are other methods of screening that are very effective.
Organizations That Held Events Earlier in October
While these organizations’ events have passed, you can still get involved and support them. Plus, most of these events are annual, so mark your calendar for next year!
Seymour Pink – 10th Annual Pounding the Pavement, October 1-3
Throughout the pandemic, this group could see how far their reach was with their motto, “We’re in this together,” through their signs and with virtual races last year. This year, there will be an in-person walk and run. This group entered their 10th Anniversary race together again, and they are determined to get more pink out there across the nation as they pound the pavement to stomp out breast cancer.
For those who couldn’t join the in-person race, there was a continuation for virtual racing as well, and some participated in a virtual 5K race between October 1-3, 2021. The in-person race took place in Seymour, on October 2, 2021, at 9 a.m.
Also, back for this year was the 2021 Pink Challenge – a challenge to complete 15k over race weekend. Participants completed a 5k distance and a 10k distance to earn a special medal.
To learn more any of these activities to get an idea of what next year’s events will be like, you can do so here
Support Connection, Inc. – Support-A-Walk, October 3
Support Connection is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Their mission is to provide emotional, social, and educational support services to women, their families, and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer. While their office is located in Yorktown Heights, NY, they provide support to people nationwide.
This organization held their 2021 Annual Support-A-Walk for Breast and Ovarian Cancer on Sunday, October 3, which was done virtually. The event is Support Connection’s most important annual fundraiser. Proceeds provide funding for their year-round breast and ovarian support services, which have helped thousands of people since the organization was founded in 1996. Thousands of people each year participate in the walk from all over the country. Participants of all ages walk.
The theme for this year was, “Walk with Us, Wherever You Are.” Support Connection’s programs serve people nationwide, and this enables people all over the country to participate in the Walk. For more information on this walk, you can visit their website here
Making Strides of Connecticut presented by Liberty Bank – Walk on October 3, 2021
On October 3, 2021 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park – Yard Goats Stadium in Hartford, the annual Making Strides of Connecticut walk took place.
What is Strides? The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk was started by The American Cancer Society. This was designed to unite communities in the fight against this deadly disease. Today, Making Strides is the largest network of breast cancer events in the nation. This is more than just a walk. The organization raises money to help the American Cancer Society to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research and to provide patient services like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near treatment, and a live 24/7 cancer helpline.
With Making Strides, you can walk, volunteer, or donate for this cause. There are many opportunities to get involved nationwide with this organization, no matter where you live.
You can visit their website for more information on how to get involved here