Series of local events — including Ocean City’s Pink Ribbon Classic — aim to raise awareness, funding for breast cancer programs and services
LISA CAPITELLI ¦ Assistant Editor
Approximately 170 runners take off from the starting line near Hooter’s on Fifth Street and the Boardwalk during the inaugural Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event last year. An estimated 900 runners and walkers took part in the festivities, helping to raise approximately $82,000 for the American Cancer Society. The second annual race, one of several events scheduled as part of the Pink Ribbon Classic series, will take place Oct. 20.(Sept. 28, 2012) The annual Pink Ribbon Classic series, an array of local events designed to raise breast cancer awareness, while garnering money for the American Cancer Society, kicks off next week with activities that will continue until the second week of November.
Nancy Dofflemyer, Judy Johnson Schoellkopf and members of the Executive Women’s Golf Association established the Classic in 1996. Since its inception, the series, which includes a golf tournament, music-filled party and Mah Jongg event, among many others, has raised nearly $1.2 million for the cause. In 2010, the Pink Ribbon Classic brought in approximately $114,000 ($106,000 net) to hit the $1 million mark. It was the sixth consecutive year that more than $100,000 was donated to the organization.
During a wrap-up meeting last November, it was announced that during 2011 Pink Ribbon Classic events, $186,000 (net) had been donated.
“The classic exceeded all expectations,” Kathy Decker, 2011 community manager for the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division, Area 27 Delmarva, said after the total was announced. “This is such a seasoned group of women (volunteers). We had some new women come in this year and they hit the ground running … It’s been quite an experience for me, and I take pride in the fact these ladies are part of my community and they’re my neighbors and friends.”
In 2005, Kathy Mathias, a longtime American Cancer Society volunteer who battled breast cancer for many years, took over as chairwoman of the Classic. A special tribute was paid to Mathias, who lost her fight with cancer in last August, during each of the Classic events.
While each event had its own chairperson, Chris Butler took over for Mathias as overall chairwoman of the 2011 Classic. Butler had been a committee member and involved with the organization for several years.
“It went fantastic,” Butler said of the 2011 series. “Everything was great and everyone worked together. It was a fitting tribute to Kathy Mathias for all she did over the years. The community was very generous with its donations, and every single event was up from the previous year.”
For 2012, all of the event chairs are working together to make the Pink Ribbon Classic Series run smoothly.
The 2012 Classic kicked off Aug. 16, with the 19th annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open, a three-day, ladies-only fishing tournament. The tournament garnered $62,500 for the American Cancer Society. The total donated by the Harman family through the tournament and other events over the past five years is $312,000. Since the Open’s inception 19 years ago, the American Cancer Society has received $560,000.
Although the Open takes place in August, the other Pink Ribbon Classic events are spread out between September and October, known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. An event will also take place in November this year.
The 2012 events include a tennis tournament, card and game party, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K run/walk, Mah Jongg tournament, golf championship, Jammin’ Out Cancer and “Pamper Yourself for Charity” raffle.
“There’s something for everybody. That’s what makes the Pink Ribbon Classic unique,” said Beverly Furst, chairwoman of the Oct. 20 Ocean City Making Strides Against Breast Cancer run/walk on the Boardwalk. “The Pink Ribbon Classic has been around for a long time and that shows how much people enjoy it. People look forward to the events.”
While some money will be earmarked for national breast cancer research, the remainder will stay on the Eastern Shore, where it will be used for education projects, patient programs and services.