MONROE, CT — Breast cancer can conjure up feelings of sadness and tragedy, but organizers of the annual Pink Palooza chose to celebrate survivors living full lives, while honoring fond memories of loved ones who were lost.
Think Pink Monroe’s event was held in the daytime for the first time, providing a fun afternoon for families, as well as educating the public about the importance of having routine breast exams for early detection.
The green in front of Monroe Town Hall was decked out in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cornhole tournament was held, children had their faces painted, painted pumpkins and ate cotton candy. The crowd was also treated to food trucks and live music by the Masuk High School Chorus and Band, and routines performed by Masuk cheerleaders.
“I was thrilled with the turnout,” said Bonnie Maur, the founder of Think Pink, a nonprofit providing financial assistance to Monroe families paying for cancer treatment. “This is our first event like this and we loved it. We want to do it this way from now on. We used to hold it at night to be on October first, but this gave families the opportunity to come out and enjoy the day together.”
Maur said a student reporter for the Masuk Free Press asked her why it was such a festive atmosphere when the topic is breast cancer.
“I’m a survivor and I’m a thriver,” Maur said, “and we’re teaching kids that this isn’t a death sentence. It’s about survival and how you live after you’ve dealt with a cancer diagnosis. Yes we lost people, but we’re also raising awareness that many survived and are living full lives. And we also want to celebrate the memories of those who passed. We’re doing it for them too.”
Maur said the message is to get checked, but if you have an issue, it can be okay.
Among those at the event was JoAnn Springer, 86, of Stamford. Springer had breast cancer, but thanks to early detection, she is now a 32-year-survivor.
“The most important thing in the world is to have your breasts examined,” Springer said of annual mammograms. “Never hesitate.”
Patti Kallas, of Monroe, serves on the Think Pink Monroe Committee in honor of Springer, who is her mother. Kallas has also lost loved ones to breast cancer, including a grandmother at age 80 and a sister-in-law at 49.
Among the speakers at the Palooza were First Selectman Ken Kellogg, State Rep. Tony Scott, R-Monroe, Maur, Lisa Martinsky, a former Monroe Teacher of the Year and a breast cancer survivor; and Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza.
Kobza talked about all of the fundraising efforts being done by students at Monroe’s five schools: Masuk, Jockey Hollow, Monroe Elementary, Stepney and Fawn Hollow.
“It’s wonderful, the support we’re getting,” Maur said. “We did some fundraising in town for people who need financial assistance. This was a great start for the kickoff for our month.”
Upcoming Think Pink events
Jennies Pizza throughout the month will be raffling off a $250 gift card.
Masuk Pink Swim Meet October 5
October 6 Pink Farmer’s Market
October 7, 8, 9: Seven Maples Nursery and Gift: A Portion of proceeds from the entire weekend will be donated to TPM
October 11: Monroe Social; A percentage of proceeds will be donated to TPM and kids eat free that night!
October 13: Pinkout football game
October 17: Pink out Girls Soccer Game
Monroe Social Event TPM October 24: Join us for an evening of fun for the community. Tickets are $35 each and include a drink and light fare. There will be silent auction and tea cup raffle drawings for our basket bonanza and music for all! Come join the fun!
Monroe Public Schools Info:
- Elementary Schools
- All three of our elementary schools are collecting donations for Think Pink Monroe and other organizations during the first week of Monroe..
- Jockey Hollow
- Selling apparel and gear to raise funds for TPM. They have also designated Oct. 27th as their schoolwide Pink Day to raise awareness.
- Cheer & Football- the Pink Out Football game on Friday, Oct. 13th to benefit TPM
- Boys and Girls soccer are selling “Kick Pink” shirts in support of cancer awareness
- Donations from the Boys’ Oct. 12th game will go toward the Hope and Strength Student Athlete Scholarship
- Proceeds from the Girls’ Oct. 17th game will go to the Think Pink Monroe Foundation
- Girls’ Volleyball team – Dig Pink game on Oct. 12th
- Girls Swimming and Diving team – Think Pink meet against Brookfield on Friday.
- Field Hockey will have their 9h Annual Cancer Awareness Game this Wednesday- This year’s proceeds will be going to the Dubay family whose 2 year old son, Remy, is currently battling leukemia