Across the country, Americans put forth a major effort to raise awareness and funds to battle breast cancer, but the folks in Bedford County have their own special home-grown event. In its first year, last year, the Pink Ribbon Fund netted $55,000–all to help create more local survivors.
Two-time breast cancer survivor Dr. Kathy Erlichman receiving a concerning message last week. “Sadly, at the end of my day on Friday, I found a note on my desk saying ‘Dr. Erlichman, I’m diagnosed with breast cancer. I have nowhere to turn, what do I do next?'”
Fortunately, Kathy knew right away what to tell the woman. In the Pink Ribbon Fund, she had a ready made support network of survivors that would help her emotionally, financially, and beyond.
Fellow survivor Brandi Hershey says, “That’s the club you never want to be a part of, but let me tell you when you meet somebody newly diagnosed, you have a hunger for information to learn amore about the disease, what are your treatment options. In some cases, it’s reassuring, its comforting to talk to people who’ve been through the same thing you’ve been through and come out as a survivor on the other side.”
The Pink Ribbon Fund raises money to help local breast cancer patients with transportation costs, meals, other incidental charges that come with treatment, and even with a bill that’s not covered by insurance.
“It’s not going to some national organization with a lot of overhead and administrative costs. We are simply a group of passionate volunteers, a group of sometimes breast cancer survivors, and we are utilizing this grassroots effort to really make a difference and it really makes a difference for these folks,” Brandi says.
And Kathy adds, “Research is important, trying to eliminate cancer is important , but I think patients, the people of Bedford County were concerned that the patients themselves needed to be supported, so that’s why we started our fund.”
The Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund will be holding its signature event—a 5K run and walk on Saturday, October 20th at the Bedford Middle School.
WTAJ Reporter Charlotte Ames will have the honor of serving as emcee for the event.