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Let’s Pink Out Picnic to honor cancer survivors, fighters

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Oct 20, 2020

TIFFANY REPECKI Last year's Let’s Pink Out Picnic raised nearly $20,000 to assist those in need.

It is estimated that 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States this year, as well as 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation reports. Also, an estimated 2,620 men will be diagnosed and about 520 will die.

On Oct. 22, the ninth annual Let’s Pink Out Picnic will celebrate and honor cancer survivors, fighters and caregivers and raise funds to help members in the community with their cancer-related needs. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sanibel Fire Station 171, at 2351 Palm Ridge Road.

“We are raising funds for people who work and live on the islands who need assistance during their journey with cancer treatment,” event founder Mary Bondurant, who is a cancer survivor, said.

One hundred percent of the event proceeds will ensure early detection through mammograms and provide funding for cancer-related medical treatment, transportation to appointments and more.

“We want them to reach out to us and let us know their needs so we can help,” she said.

PHOTO PROVIDED The Let’s Pink Out team will be set up on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel.

The event initially stemmed from then-Sanibel Fire Chief Dan Duncan asking about how to get Radiology Regional Center’s Mobile Mammo coach at the station and raising awareness for the cause. Bondurant explained that it kind of unfolded from there and the event has been held ever since.

The group is in the process this year of obtaining its nonprofit status with the help of Tom Louwers.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be changes to the format of the 2020 event.

“This year is a drive-thru picnic at the fire station,” she said of the biggest one. “We have worked it out that you will drive through a bay. People will be there with masks and gloves on and proper PPE.”

Participants will receive their choice of a tuna salad or turkey wrap lunch.

PHOTO PROVIDED The Let’s Pink Out team will be set up on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel.

“We will be giving out boxed lunches from Cip’s Place,” Bondurant said.

Bottles of pink lemonade and water will also be handed out, sponsored by Bailey’s General Store.

“The next station will be ice cream,” she said, explaining that Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream will provide scoops of its custom-created flavor Boobalicios. “So, they’ll get a little cup of ice cream.”

“Then they can go home and enjoy and feel safe and comfortable in their own environment,” Bondurant added. “But it still offers the opportunity to come out and feel supported.”

The lunch is free for cancer survivors and by donation for others.

“If it’s in your heart to leave a donation to help someone else,” she said.

The Sanibel fire crew will assist by collecting donations.

“We’ll have the firefighters there with our decorated fire boots,” Bondurant said.

Participants can also purchase raffle tickets for island experiences.

“We reached out to YOLO Watersports, Captiva Cruises, Whitney’s Bait & Tackle, Billy’s Rentals for people to come onto the island and enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “They all stepped up to the plate.”

The Kay Casperson LifeStyle Spa & Boutique will again provide gift bags to cancer survivors.

Bondurant explained that they have no set fundraising goal due to the pandemic.

“We’re just so happy this year that we’re able to hold it,” she said of the event. “Last year, we had an absolutely successful year almost topping $20,000.”

Bondurant thanked the board of directors — survivor and President Ann Neubauer, Vice President Laurie Verme, survivor and Treasurer Lauren Davies, and Secretary Leslie Rowan — for their efforts.

“This year, I couldn’t have done this without them,” she said.

“And, of course, the Sanibel Fire District,” Bondurant added. “We can’t do this without them.”

Residents and visitors are welcome to come out.

“I think, right now, everybody needs to be cheered on and there needs to be a lot more happy,” she said. “When survivors and caregivers are going through this journey, it’s tough. They think nobody cares.”

“Maybe we can get them over a bad day,” Bondurant added.

In addition to the picnic, the Let’s Pink Out team will be set up on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bailey’s, at 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. They have shirts, masks, bags and more available.

“This year, we went beyond just T-shirts,” she said.

People can also stop by Sanibel’s Best Homemade Ice Cream, at 362 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, all month long and purchase the Boobalicios ice cream. All proceeds will benefit Let’s Pink Out.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SanibelCaptivaIslandsFL.

Advance reservations to the picnic are suggested. People can call or text Bondurant at 239-839-3633 with the number of lunches requested and choice for each. They can also reach out via Facebook.