Walkers and shoppers in the pink to help a good cause
Organizers of the 4th Annual Walk for Breast Cancer want Islanders to "wear pink, have fun, and make a difference" this weekend. "We think of it as a weekend to end breast cancer and support Islanders living with cancer," said Patricia Newell, co-chairman of Martha's Vineyard Goes Pink.
The organization's walk, scheduled for Sunday, May 18, benefits two nonprofit organizations, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, which targets breast cancer, and the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group.
Registration for the nine-mile walk begins at 9 am at the Sengekontacket Pond parking lot before the First Bridge on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs. Walkers should bring any donations they have collected with them. If it's pouring rain, Ms. Newell said a tent will be set up near the parking lot for donation collection.
The walk starts at 10 am, following the bike path and sidewalks to the Edgartown lighthouse and back. The walk's organizers promise the course is "stroller and red-wagon friendly." Transportation will be available for those unable to go the whole distance.
With pink being the symbolic color of support for victims of breast cancer, publicity chairman Noreen Baker said, "We encourage people to wear as much pink as possible - there's no such thing as too much pink on this walk."
Those interested in participating can register ahead of time online at mvgoespink.com or pick up walk forms at tables set up at the Cronig's and Stop and Shop supermarkets on Saturday, May 17. The volunteers manning the tables also will be selling raffle tickets for $10 each and accepting donations.
The raffle is a new element of the walk this year, organized and managed by Carol Aranzabe and Beth Buhler. "We have tons of great things that have been donated to the raffle," Ms. Newell said.
Donations also may be made online through PayPal or by sending checks to Martha's Vineyard goes Pink, P.O. Box 1077, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Donors may designate either the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group or Komen for the Cure on the online form or on the memo line on the checks. Otherwise, proceeds will be split between the two nonprofits.
In addition to the walk, several Island businesses are supporting the fundraiser, some through donations from the sale of something pink. The Green Room in Vineyard Haven, for example, will donate 10 percent of proceeds from weekend sales of the store's many pink items, including clothing, shoes and flip-flops, swimwear, and accessories, according to store manager and buyer Belinda Ritchie. Owner Dee Dice said Eden Market and Garden Center also plans to donate 10 percent of Saturday and Sunday sales of pink plants, flowers, and more.
The walk began as a project by an Island women's group of about 30 members, both married and single. "We decided four years ago that we wanted to do something for the community that everyone could participate in, that people's children could participate in, that not only would make a difference here but also in the world," Ms. Newell explained. "The walk proceeds are supporting local people who are living with cancer, as well as those in the world who are trying to find a way to prevent it."
Although she and Hillary Noyes-Keene have co-chaired the walk since it started, they received help from many people each year, she added. This year, Michelle Manfredi designed a new logo for t-shirts and advertising. Martha's Vineyard Computer Lab owner Max Bossman donated his services to create the Martha's Vineyard Goes Pink website.
"This walk is so great - it gives people opportunity to donate locally," said Annemarie Donahue, a Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group board member.
The support group meets every Wednesday at noon at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center. Ms. Donahue, a breast cancer survivor of almost 20 years, said the support group provided her with emotional support and a wealth of information and practical advice about dealing with cancer. In 1994, the support group decided to incorporate in order to help Island cancer patients and their families cope financially, as well, she said.
The support group helps with the costs associated with transportation, alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture, and prescription drugs not covered by insurance, as well as utility bills, rent, and mortgage payments.
"There are not too many things we would not consider paying for, if a person can show a need related to cancer," Ms. Donahue said. "To date, we have given close to $150,000."
Although the Martha's Vineyard Goes Pink walk coincides with similar Komen for the Cure events taking place nationwide on Sunday, Ms. Newell said, "We make a donation to Komen, although we're not one of their formal fundraising events."