Bonnie Maur, a longtime educator and breast cancer survivor, organized the first annual Think Pink Monroe fundraiser to benefit St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound, teaming up with fellow committee members to raise $10,947 to help patients get the treatment they need, while staying on solid financial footing.
On behalf of Think Pink Monroe, Maur presented Lyn Fine-McCarthy, executive director of St. Vincent’s Medical Foundation, with the check at last week’s Town Council meeting.
“When a patient hears the word cancer, their life will change in a nano second and we at the SWIM, thanks to the town of Monroe and volunteers like Bonnie, are able to help these patients get through some of their darkest times,” Fine-McCarthy said.
Fine-McCarthy said St. Vincent’s has had single mothers and mothers with significant others, who had been out of work for a long period of time because of their cancer diagnosis, their surgery, their chemo and their radiation.
“They can’t pay their fuel bill in the middle of the winter time,” she said, “can’t pay their mortgage bill and are really beside themselves over, ‘how are they going to continue?'”
Fine-McCarthy said these women apply to the SWIM for help. Then a navigator speaks to them, before providing assistance with the funds raised by St. Vincent’s and volunteers, like those who participated in Think Pink Monroe.
“So on behalf of the SWIM, the foundation and many, many patients you will never meet, a big, big thank you to all of you, and certainly to Bonnie and the committee,” Fine-McCarthy said. “Bonnie, as I said to you, we are forever grateful.”
She presented certificates of appreciation to Think Pink Monroe, Bonnie Maur and her son Jason, who is a town councilman. Also receiving certificates were volunteers Vicky Maur, Patti Springer Kallas, Deborah Heim and First Selectman Ken Kellogg, who got the town behind the effort.
Bonnie Maur thanked SWIM Across the Sound, who worked with Think Pink Monroe to raise awareness, particularly Fine-McCarthy and John Branelly.
A growing epidemic
Bonnie Maur said breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, killing thousands of people each year. One in nine women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common form of cancer in women, she said, adding that men are not immune to its reach, with about 2,550 new cases of breast cancer in men each year.
“This town taught me what an incredible community can be,” Maur said. “Both when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and later when I had open heart surgery due to issues from breast cancer treatment, this town showed me what a family we are. Starting Think Pink Monroe was a labor of love to give back to this beautiful town of ours.”
Maur thanked all of the committee members for making the month-long series of events and fundraisers possible.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our selectman, Ken Kellogg for encouraging me in this mission and jumping on board to support our organization,” Maur said. “I would also like to thank Superintendent of Schools Jack Zamary and the Monroe public schools for jumping in full throttle.”
Maur also thanked all of the town residents who participated in Think Pink Monroe events and made donations. “From attending our events, to supporting us financially, to wearing shirts, displaying signs and spreading the word to get checked regularly, we bonded together as a town, once again, to take care of each other.”
Jason Maur was also touched by the outpouring of support in the community, from residents and town officials to businesspeople. “As a Town Council member and a member of the committee, a heartfelt thank you,” he said.