The Times – Pink Ribbon Society struggling

The Times – November 8, 2020

As the new year approaches, the Pink Ribbon Society is hoping for a miracle.

This summer, the nonprofit called on the community for help by sending out an SOS (save our society) call. Founder Ann Peters said the organization still has a long way to go.

“It’s really getting difficult, and without some kind of boost in our revenue, our concern is that we’ll have to close our doors, and we’re trying real, real hard not to do that,” Peters said.

Peters said everyone is struggling right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, noting organizations, including the Pink Ribbon Society, had to cancel annual fundraisers.

“COVID doesn’t cancel breast cancer. It continues to happen, and there are people who were diagnosed before the COVID hit. There have been people who have been diagnosed since the COVID,” said Peters, a 43-year breast cancer survivor.

“The COVID doesn’t stop cancer, and we don’t want the COVID to stop us, either.”

So far, the Society has raised some money through its SOS campaign, a checkout challenge at Strack & Van Til in October, a fundraiser with Southlake Nissan and online auctions, Peters said.

The Society also has received a grant from the Crown Point Community Foundation.

Despite the grant and fundraisers, the society still needs about two-thirds of its annual $150,000 operating budget.

“We’re just trying to find an angel who is willing to do a matching funds program with us,” Peters said.

For 19 years, the Pink Ribbon Society has helped men and women throughout Northwest Indiana who are affected by breast cancer.

Every year, the Pink Ribbon Society underwrites patient compression sleeves, as well as 250-300 mammograms and ultrasounds, totaling more than $50,000; donates $10,000 to help patients who lost their hair during treatment afford wigs; provides Bundles of Hope bags for patients arriving to their first treatment; and gives gift cards to patients in treatment and in need of financial help.

“We may have to distribute less per program, but we won’t stop distributing. We are here for a particular purpose, and we are going to continue to provide that,” Peters said.

Thus far, the Society has donated $650,000 to help breast cancer survivors and patients in the Northwest Indiana community, Peters said.

“I am so proud of what we’ve done,” Peters said. “It’s difficult to walk away from something like this, when it comes from the heart, when it’s a passion. We’ll just keep going.”

Currently, the Society is raising funds by selling copies of its 2021 breast cancer survivors’ calendar. Calendars are $10 each and feature survivors who have been featured in the past 20 years.

The nonprofit also has a GoFundMe.

“We’re not going to stop fundraising. We’re just going to keep it going,” Peters said.

Peters said people can call the Society at 219-472-0704, or visit the Society at 303 E. 89th Ave., Suite 100, Merrillville, to learn more about the programs it supports.

The Times – Pink Ribbon Society asking for community’s help to stay afloat

The Times – August 19, 2020

For the last 19 years, the Pink Ribbon Society has helped men and women affected by breast cancer.  Now, the nonprofit is seeking the community’s help. 

Recently, the Pink Ribbon Society sent out an SOS (Save Our Society) call after it had to cancel its only major fundraiser of the year, said Founder, Ann Peters.

“Everybody’s struggling right now. All the businesses and not-for-profits, maybe even more so than other businesses,” Peters said. “Because we depend 100% on donations, it’s been pretty rough for us.”

Peters said the nonprofit canceled its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a “big hole” in the Society’s budget. 

“People are so disappointed that we’re not doing the tea this year, but … the safety of our supporters and our staff and our volunteers, that has to come first,” she said. “We are hoping to be able to pick up where we left off next year, so that we won’t have to cancel the tea again.” 

With its signature fundraiser off the calendar, Peters said the organization needs to “find other ways to keep our doors open.” 

To continue providing services to the community, the nonprofit started a GoFundMe and also will be a part of the checkout challenge at Strack & Van Til in October. 

“We’re very proud of what we’ve done in the community for 19 years now, and we’re just hoping that we’ve done well enough that people will want us to stay around, and they’ll continue to support us,” Peters said.  

A 43-year breast cancer survivor herself, Peters said she would be heartbroken to see the Society close its doors. 

Peters said the Society is going to continue its efforts, though it may have to reduce its contributions. On average, Peters said the organization disburses around $80,000 annually for its programs. 

Every year, the Pink Ribbon Society underwrites patient compression sleeves, as well as 250-300 mammograms and ultrasounds, totaling more than $50,000; donates $10,000 to help patients who lost their hair during treatment afford wigs; provides Bundles of Hope bags for patients arriving to their first treatment; and gives gift cards to patients in treatment and in need of financial help.

“We’re going to try to find a way to keep ourselves in the community, helping other people, even if we can’t do it at 100% of the capacity that we’ve done in the past,” Peters said. 

She later added: “It would break my heart to have to go away. … If we can’t do it, it won’t be because we haven’t tried. And we’ll give it everything we’ve got and hope that the community will be out there to support us.” 

For more information, visit pinkribbonsociety.org or call them at 219-472-0704.

2020 Breast Cancer Survivors’ Calendar

Each year, we select 12 individuals who are represented on our Breast Cancer Survivors’ Calendar. Selections are made from nominations sent in by our community. You can nominate an individual (mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, co-worker) you think would be a great role model for those more recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Honorees are recognized at the luncheon as warriors and survivors. The calendars are sold at the luncheon for $10 each or by calling our offices at 219 472 0704 after the luncheon.

The Times Media Company has underwritten the production and print cost of the calendars as a part of their ongoing media sponsorship for many years. Edda Taylor Photograhie from Crown Point has provided her expertise in photography to portray the honorees in their very best light.

Those above are our 2020 calendar honorees: Top left to right, Ms. October Dora Walker, Ms. June Robin Curtis, Ms. December Tina Pavlo, Ms. April Angela Hernandez, Ms. February Lori Equihua and Ms. March Constance Wilkins. Bottom row left to right are Ms. November, Jan Wasieleski, Ms. July Beverly Armenta, Ms. August Tracy Clark, Ms. May Nona Bandy, Ms. January Joanne Holiday and Ms. September Nancy Fleener.

18th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon

Baskets Galore Raffle

Thanks to the generosity of our community businesses and individuals, our 2019 Baskets Galore Raffle was once again, a phenomenal success, netting over $ 12,000.

The amount of time and effort that goes into collecting items and products for our baskets is remarkable. Although the entire Pink Ribbon team is responsible for helping to collect items to fill the baskets, our basket committee, Evelyn Thomas, Val Kleinedler, Marge Gresser, Ruth Bilbro, and Grace Morin do the sorting, assembly and wrapping of the baskets. You can donate a product(s) or a full basket if you like. You don’t even have to fuss with it. Our expert assembly crew will make the basket look gorgeous.

We depend on local businesses and individuals to provide the items to make the baskets outstanding. So if a Pink Ribbon Society volunteer calls on you this year and asks for help in supporting the Baskets Galore Raffle, we hope you’ll be generous.

2019 Celebrity Servers

Each year, we assemble the most amazing group of individuals who step up to the challenge of spending an afternoon serving our guests lunch and beverages at the Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. These “Celebrity Servers” are a literal list of “Who’s Who” of our community. They represent the community as CEO’s, doctors, bank presidents, organizational leaders, business owners, political leaders, educators and community advocates. Our event would not be the same without them. Those attending enjoy the special attention they receive from our Celebrity Servers and they appreciate seeing community leaders supporting local organizations. Each Celebrity Server is provided with an awesome Pink Ribbon apron, which is raffled off at the end of the event to a lucky ticket holder and are a highly sought after souvenir. Several years ago, Tina Popp from John Ciccos donated specially made bow ties just for this occasion. Pink sequin bow ties are worn by servers who have performed these duties for at least ten years.

2019 Celebrity Servers included: Mr. Wright Alcorn – Methodist Hospitals, Mr. Larry Alt – Larry Alt & Associates, Dr. Bharat Barai – Premier Oncology Hematology Associates, Ms. Ashley Crouch – Culver’s, Valparaiso, Mr. Mark Dennie – Community Advocate, Mr. George Georgeff – Community Advocate, Ms. Cindy Hall – Ivy Tech, Mr. Matt Hardesty – Red Lobster, Merrillville, Ms. Vera Hoover – Red Lobster, Munster, Mr. Nicholas Madvek – NIPSCO, Mr. Tom Magurany – Walgreen Drug Store, Winfield, Mr. Joe Mays – Winfield Community Foundation, Mr. Chris Pavlou – Radius Restaurant, Valparaiso, Mr. Tom Pruzin – Pruzin Brothers Funeral Service, Mr. Brent Rosenbower – Community Advocate, Mr. Michael Rowley – Community Advocate, Dr. Charisa Spoo – Advocate Christ Medical Breast Center, Dr. Derek Stephens – Community Advocate, Ms. Morgan Szczygielski – Culver’s, Valparaiso, Dr. Michael Tallarico – Northwest Oncology, PC, Mr. Terrell Taylor – Community Advocate, Mr. Dave Thomas – Community Advocate, Ms. Renee Turpa – Valparaiso University, Mr. Andre B. Tyler – Community Advocate, and Mr. Ken Varnes – McColly Real Estate . If you know someone who would make a good server, or if you’d like to step up to the challenge yourself, please contact Kathie Dinga at our offices 219-472-0704.

2018 Award Presentations

Pink Ribbon has been generously supported by many businesses and other organizations in our community for nearly 18 years. In an effort to show our appreciation, we presented several of our major contributors with a plaque of appreciation for supporting us and the many men and women in our community whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.

Platinum Supporter Award: Strack & Van Til

Platinum Supporter Award
Platinum Supporter Award was presented to our major supporter, Strack & Van Til for their ongoing Check Out Challenge event. Barb Werblo, Ann Peters, Dave Wilkinson and Maura Rowley.

Platinum Media Award: The Times Media Company

Platinum Media Award
Platinum Media Award presented to The Times Media Company for their support of Pink Ribbon for the last 18 years. Barb Werblo, James Pellegrini, Ann Peters, Joe Battistino and Maura Rowley.

Gold Community Award: Premier Oncology Hematology Associates

Gold Community Award: Dr. Bharat Barai

Gold Community Award presented to Dr. Bharat Barai – Premier Oncology Hematology Associates

Gold Community Award: Methodist Hospitals

Gold Community Award: Mr. Wright Alcorn

Gold Community Award presented to Mr. Wright Alcorn – Chief Operating Officer Methodist Hospitals.

Gold Community Award: Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura

Gold Community Award: Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura

Gold Community Award presented to Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura – Paint The Town Pink

Gold Community Award: Community Healthcare System

Gold Community Award: Community Healthcare System

Gold Community Award presented to Community Healthcare System – Mary Cioe Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc.

Gold Community Award: Kauffman Chiropractic

Gold Community Award: Kauffman Chiropractic

Gold Community Award presented to Kauffman Chiropractic – Amanda Mattox, Maura Rowley, Ann Peters, Dr Danielle Kauffman, Jean Chappel and Bradley Ott.

Gold Community Award: Sheep’s Clothing

Gold Community Award: Paula Strietelmeier

Gold Community Award presented to Paula Strietelmeier, Sheep’s Clothing, Valparaiso

Gold Community Award: Culver’s Valparaiso

Gold Community Award: Culver's Valparaiso

Gold Community Award presented to Marilyn Christmas – Culver’s Valparaiso

Silver Community Award: Avalon Manor Banquet Center

Silver Community Award: Avalon Manor Banquet Center

Silver Community Award presented to Jovanko Blesich, Sales Coordinator, Avalon Manor Banquet Center

Silver Community Award: GFWC Women’s Club of St. John

Silver Community Award: GFWC Women's Club of St. John

Silver Community Award presented to Members of the GFWC Women’s Club of St. John

Silver Community Award: Dr. Jay Platt, DDS

Silver Community Award: Dr. Jay Platt, DDS

Silver Community Award presented to Dr. Jay Platt, DDS

Community Award: Vanis Salon and Day Spa

Community Award: Vanis Salon and Day Spa

Community Award presented to Debi Schweda and Jen Bunk Vanis Salon and Day Spa – Valparaiso