Are you tough enough to wear pink?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gizmo's Event Center in Wheaton will host a Tough Enough To Wear Pink fundraiser during a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rodeo scheduled to be held at the facility on June 25. Area residents planning to attend the rodeo are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Attendees will also have the opportunity to help raise funds for two local women battling the disease by purchasing Tough Enough To Wear Pink merchandise or participating in a silent auction or 50/50 drawing.

Tough Enough To Wear Pink was created by breast cancer survivor Terry Wheatley in 2004. The original event was designed to bring the sport of professional rodeo and the western community together in a rally against breast cancer. Over the last six years, the national campaign has raised $5 million for breast cancer charities and inspired many other sports communities to start similar campaigns.

Wheatley's story is an inspiring one. Shortly after undergoing breast cancer surgery, she decided to take a stand against the disease on behalf of herself, her grandmother, her mother and her daughter, who had all battled breast cancer. She decided she wanted to get the message out about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.

Finally, Wheatley happened on an idea. What if she could convince the competitors at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., to wear pink during one night of the rodeo? She dreamed of the spectacle the participants would create when the event was broadcast on national television, but she only had three weeks to make her dream come true.

PRCA helped Wheatley distribute information about the Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaign, and Wrangler put a special rush on 200 pink cowboy shirts for the event. Wheatley knew her son, Wade, who was competing in the team roping event at the national competition, would support her idea by wearing the pink shirt, but would anyone else?

To Wheatley's surprise, not only did each one of the competitors sport a pink shirt for the event, but many of the spectators wore pink in support of the campaign also. The arena was transformed into a sea of pink, the color of breast cancer awareness, in support of Wheatley's campaign.

On June 25, Barry Countians will have the opportunity to show support for breast cancer awareness by donning pink shirts or purchasing Tough Enough To Wear Pink merchandise during the local event. I can only imagine how inspiring it would be to see local community members transform Gizmo's Event Center into a sea of pink in honor of the local women battling this disease .

Lindsay Reed