Aiken Technical College’s student activity center was pretty in pink Thursday as individuals from around the CSRA observed Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Filled with pink balloons, ribbons and other decor, the third annual Pink Ribbon Tea was held, and it was a team effort to make the event possible. The Pink Ribbonettes, Aiken Tech, USC Aiken and Aiken Regional Medical Centers sponsored the event.
“Everything is so beautiful, and I love that everyone is coming together,” said Aiken Tech nursing student Ashley Trull, who was experiencing her first Pink Ribbon Tea by sharing information about breast cancer.
Lynn Gaudreau, who was enjoying the tea immensely, said she loved seeing all of the young medical students getting involved and was impressed by them.
“I just think this has been a fabulous, fabulous event,” Gaudreau said.
Tables lined the activity center with information about the disease and what can be done to lower the chances of getting breast cancer or catching it in its early stages.
Nursing students from both ATC and USCA, as well as ARMC officials and many other organizations, were at the event distributing pamphlets, sharing facts and offering statistics.
That’s one goal of the Pink Ribbon Tea – to spread awareness and hopefully save lives. For one of the two speakers of the event, both breast cancer survivors, retired USCA professor Jeanne Townes hopes sharing her story can save lives.
“If one thing I said will convince just one woman to get her mammogram, which could save her life, I feel like I did a service,” Townes said.
Townes, a survivor of two years, told her story of how she was diagnosed and had surgery within two weeks. She described her battle as “a fast and furious ride” but said the support of her family and friends got her through it. She teared up as she recognized one of those friends, USCA School of Nursing professor MaeDella Perry, who was also fighting the disease but passed away. Perry had offered her encouragement and advice as well as making a lasting impression on Townes.
The other speaker was Brenda Roland, who found a lump in a self breast exam. Roland said, when she was diagnosed, she didn’t panic and kept her faith in God.
“As far as I know today, I’m cancer free,” she said, which prompted a thunderous applause.
Both those who survived and those who lost their battle to breast cancer were honored at the event. The City of Aiken Mayor Pro Tem Dick Dewar presented a proclamation to Pink Ribbonettes President Irene Hawley recognizing the month of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Oct. 11 as Pink Ribbonettes Day.
South Boundary also performed and Jennie Montgomery, WJBF Channel 6 News anchor, emceed the tea.
Pink Ribbonette and Tea Chair Sue Stutman-King was excited by the turnout of the event, with more than 200 people attending. She was overwhelmed with the sea of pink, which didn’t just emanate from the decorations but also from all of the attendees wearing the color.
“We’re just thrilled with the community support and outreach,” Stutman-King said. “It’s really been a special way to celebrate those who survived and remember those who hadn’t.”
The tea was free to the public, but donations were collected, which will benefit the Pink Ribbonettes, a local nonprofit organization made up of breast cancer survivors who help those who have been diagnosed and their caregivers.