The WVU Cancer Institute’s annual ‘Pink Party’ held Monday, September 16th to benefit Bonnie’s Bus, the mobile mammography unit that travels across West Virginia to provide mammograms to the women of the state offering them breast cancer screening in a comfortable, convenient environment.
It was a record year for the event, held at Bartini Prime in Suncrest Towne Centre, with over 200 individuals who raised more than $75,000 to support mobile mammography efforts across the state.
Kicking off the night was Ellie High, a breast cancer survivor whose cancer was detected on Bonnie's Bus visit, she told the story of how she would not have sought screening if the bus didn't come to her community. "I had put it off because I had a lot going on," Ellie said, "But because of Bonnie's Bus and good doctors, they found my cancer and now I'm enjoying my retirement."
A presentation followed from WVU Medicine employee Brenda Stiles on behalf of Sherry Belldina, her friend who is a ten-year survivor of breast cancer "We are truly blessed to live in this area," said Brenda, "countless cases of breast cancer have been discovered and not gone too late. That is why she [Sherry] wishes to fund the mission with the first 10K of the night!"
Other special speakers included WVU Women's Soccer Head Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown "Speaking for the team, we know that many people are affected by breast cancer, and we want to let people know that we will fight for them, Izzo-Brown said "Bonnie's Bus here at WVU is vital to our state because it plays a pivotal role in the ongoing fight against breast cancer and the Women's Soccer program has raised more than $140,000 for breast cancer research over the years."
Donor support is needed each year to help fund $670,000 in operating costs. Many of the women screened are uninsured and unable to cover the cost of a hospital visit.
Bonnie's Bus was first started by a donation from Ben and Jo Statler, created in honor of Bonnie Wells Wilson, Jo’s mother. Bonnie Wilson lived in rural West Virginia with no access to screening. She died of breast cancer in 1992.
Bonnie’s Bus has completed over 20,000 mammograms in rural West Virginia, traveling over 163,000 miles since 2009. Overall, 101 cases of breast cancer have been found in that time.
"Bonnie's Bus staff ensure women have a medical home and link them with resources so that they can receive medical care beyond their mammograms,"said Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at WVU Cancer Institute, "we have wheels to serve the people of WV and that is possible because of leaders like Jo and Ben Statler and supporters like you."
This year’s Pink Party featured music from local favorite singer Bobby Nicholas, who brought his special energy and incredible voice to a fun-filled, successful event.
The bus continues to work in partnership with WVU Hospitals, and as a result of sheer generosity through the WVU Cancer Institute’s Pink Party, the monies raised will not only continue to offer mammograms and breast care education to women but continue its effort to lower the cancer burden across the state of West Virginia.
To make a gift to Bonnie’s Bus, support breast care for West Virginia women and support the WVU Cancer Institute, please contact WVU Cancer Institute Development Team firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-293-4597.
For more information surrounding the Pink Party and its efforts to support Bonnie’s Bus, please contact Cory Chambers, Director of Annual Giving at 304-293-4597 or email@example.com.
Gifts are made through the WVU Foundation, the non-profit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
The WVU Cancer Institute will begin enrolling its first patients in a National Institute of Health (NIH) Beau Biden Moonshot Initiative trial on Oct. 25 as part of a consortium of six U.S. healthcare systems with the goal of integrating the use of patient-reported outcomes into the routine practice of oncology.