Over 1,000 people gathered in the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center Thursday night to celebrate those who have survived their battle with cancer and help raise money for others to combat the disease.
The event, presented by Peoples Drug Store, has raised just under $1 million since it began.
“It’s just a fun thing to do in the medical community. and all of our patients are here,” said Dr. Eric Rau, who was a volunteer bartender for the evening. “It’s taking a negative thing like cancer and turning it into a positive thing where everyone can get together. You could call it magic.”
The main event of the night was a fashion show, modeled by 17 cancer survivors, who received treatment at the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC in Houma. The event also included a silent auction and a live painting of the event.
Among the auctioned items were TVs, vacation packages, art, jewelry, clothes, bikes, ice chests and more.
“This event is very important to survivors and family members of survivors,” said Kate Stark, who was diagnosed with breast cancer the same day she brought her second daughter home. “I was blown away with the care and treatment I received at the Mary Bird Cancer Center.”
Proce from the event are used to help ease cancer patients’ fight against the disease in whatever way possible. This means purchasing wigs and hats, gas cards, screenings and nutritional supplements, all of which begin to create a massive bill for the patient. The money has even provided wheelchair ramps at homes, lift systems to help patients get out of bed and other needed medical equipment.
“I was approached in the summer to participate in this event and was immediately accepting of the opportunity,” Stark said. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to those who struggle with the emotional and financial parts of cancer.”
Along with the various methods of fundraising, the event offered a way to donate via text during the fashion show portion of the night. In a matter of minutes, the crowd donated just over $10,000. According to the cancer center, every $100 donated can pay for one mammogram, while $500 can fuel the cancer center’s mobile screening unit for an entire month.
“Cancer, when you get the diagnosis, is a very lonely thing,” Rau said. “You feel isolated and that everything is stacked against you. Here you see a bunch of people going through the same struggles that you are.”
— Staff Writer Scott McLendon can be reached at 857-2204 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @mclendon_b