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.

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

2018 Community Fundraisers Wrap-Up

Each year, businesses in our community hold fundraisers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and making Pink Ribbon Society the recipient of the funds they raise.

This year, local businesses held various types of events to support the men and women of our community whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Shown below are those we wish to thank for their ongoing appreciation of the programs and products Pink Ribbon provides to the community:

Check Out Challenge – Round Up – Strack & Van Til

For the third consecutive year, the Strack and Van Til and Town and County stores in our community held a Check Out Challenge supporting the programs and services of Pink Ribbon Society. From October 1 – October 14, 2018 Strack and Van Til and Town & County employees asked their customers to “Round Up” to support breast cancer and they did…..in just two short weeks, they raised $ 46,177.00. This brings the Check Out Challenge to a total of over $ 135,000 over the past three years.
Pictured: Left to right: Joe Battistoni, General Manager/Vice President of Sales & Marketing The Times; Barbara Werblo, committee member of Pink Ribbon Society; Ann Peters, Founder & President Pink Ribbon Society; Maura Rowley, Secretary/Treasurer Pink Ribbon Society; and Dave Wilkinson, President Strack & Van Til.Also shown are three of the top four fundraising cashiers, Debbie Scott, SVT Crown Point Franciscan Drive; Hunter Johnson, SVT Chesterton; Jessica Sherrod, SVT Munster; not shown is Jocellyn Theiling, SVT Cashier Valparaiso South. Far right is James Pellegrini, Marketing Manager The Times.

Check Out Challenge - Round Up - Strack & Van Til

Southshore Ladies Thursday Morning Golf League

This is the 7th year the Ladies have supported Pink Ribbon through their annual outing for breast cancer. To date, they have donated over $ 36,000. Shown in the photo are from left to right, Rose Colbert, Judy Alliss, Ann Peters, SSLGL President Mary Lou Thompson, Kathy Ebert and Peach Early.

Southshore Ladies Thursday Morning Golf League

 

Paint the Town Pink

The City of Whiting held their annual Paint The Town Pink event in May. They are shown presenting a check in the amount of $ 14, to Pink Ribbon Society Secretary Treasurer, Maura Rowley. Shown are front from left to right are: Ann Canning, Lora Cairo, Leslie Flores, Diane Kaminsky, Alexa Cano, Evelia Garcia – Back: Mayor Joe Stahura, Clerk Treasurer John Haynes.

Paint the Town Pink

 

Kauffman Chiropractic

Kauffman Chiropractic in Crown Point and Merrillville have been ongoing supporters for many years. With their contribution this year in the amount of $ 2,500, they have donated a total of over $ 20,000 to support the programs provided by Pink Ribbon Society. Shown from left to right are: Amanda Mattox, Maura Rowley, Ann Peters, Dr Danielle Kauffman, Jean Chappel and Bradley Ott.

Kauffman Chiropractic

 

Sheep’s Clothing

Paula Strietelmeier, her staff and customers of Sheep’s Clothing in Valparaiso, have been knitting and crocheting to benefit Pink Ribbon for over a decade. Each year, they present a style show and auction of styles that they have knitted and crocheted themselves. To date, Sheep’s Clothing has donated over $ 18,000.

Sheep's Clothing

 

Culver’s Valparaiso

Culvers of Valparaiso has been an ongoing supporter of Pink Ribbon for the last three years. They have been our sponsor at the annual Popcorn Festival as well as a full month of fundraising during the month of October. To date, Culvers has donated over $ 8,000 to support the men and women of our community whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Show below are Ashley Crouch, Ann Peters and Dustin Pickley.

Culver's Valparaiso

 

Vanis Salon and Day Spa

Vanis Salon and Day Spa in Valparaiso, held a Cut-A-Thon making Pink Ribbon the recipient of the funds raised during this event. They donated $ 2,190 raised during the special event. Show with Ann Peters are Debi Schweda and Jen Bunk.

Vanis Salon and Day Spa

 

Gary Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Society

GAC Physical & Mental Health Chairperson, Shalonda Hall presents a check in the amount of $ 809 to Ann Peters of The Pink Ribbon Society. The money was raised through a recent GAC Bowl-a-thon held by the group.

Gary Alumnae Chapter of  Delta Sigma Theta Society

 

Bosak Motors, Tom & Eds Autobody and Towing, Inc., Crown Brewery

Andy Tylka of Tom and Eds Autobody & Towing Inc, Zack Bryan of Crown Brewing, John Schultheis and Skip Bosak from Bosak Motors, presented Ann Peters with contributions of over $ 500 from a recent Jeep/BCB collaboration.

Bosak Motors, Tom & Eds Autobody and Towing, Inc., Crown Brewery

 

Other fundraisers held but not shown include, Anytime Fitness, Fegley Elementary School and GFWC St. John’s Women’s Club.