Around 1,000 people gathered Friday for Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center’s annual In the Pink of Health luncheon and fundraiser to support breast cancer awareness and raise funds for research and treatment.

In the annual event aims to change lives and assist survivors of breast and ovarian cancer. Last year the event raised $500,000 that was allocated to local organizations such as The Rose, a breast cancer screening resource for low-income women; Canopy, Memorial Hermann’s cancer survivor center and a breast cancer screening service for low-income women offered through Interfaith of The Woodlands.

For 19 years, the event has raised and distributed more than $5 million throughout Montgomery County to support breast and ovarian health.

This year’s guest speaker was Rick Rigsby, a man who was personally effected by breast cancer when his wife died from the disease in 1996.

Rigsby is an ordained minister, published author, motivational speaker, former journalist but considers his most important role as being a father, grandfather and friend. Rigsby spoke to the audience about his experience of dealing with a loved one affected by breast cancer and how he wishes organizations like Canopy, Memorial Hermann’s survivor center, were accessible back then.

“I looked at Canopy, I thought to myself, ‘this is absolutely amazing,’” Rigsby said. “Social and nutritional counseling, support groups, art and massage therapy, cooking demos, yoga and tai chi, resource library, wig and breast prosthesis fitting, look good and feel better sessions, and patient navigators. I wish to God we would’ve had one of these.”

“I look here some, 25-30 years later at the facilities that you have and the fact that cancer is no longer a death sentence. I am so glad that I am going to ask myself, ‘what can I do to support what’s going on in Montgomery County because I am so grateful for the support system.’”

Canopy at Memorial Hermann, launched three years ago in The Woodlands is one of the two facilities in Texas. The Canopy staff celebrates life at each stage of cancer treatment with their patients and provide free services to patients, survivors and their families regardless of where they receive treatment.

Amanda Poole, manager at Canopy, volunteers her time toward the annual luncheon and is on the committee of organizers.

“We’ve grown at about a 19 percent rate year over year, which is pretty amazing,” Poole said. “I love people and I love to make a difference, whether that's caring for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and walking them through that.”

In the Pink has become an opportunity for attendees to gain knowledge about wellness and health issues that they can provide to their families to help them healthy. This year’s event had approximately 1,000 attendees including survivors, organizers, volunteers and committee members.

“I first became involved in In the Pink of Health luncheon in 2008, when employed by Memorial Hermann The Woodlands,” said Ashley Barnes, manager and outreach for The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership. “To see the growth and impact that his luncheon has had in the last 11 years is incredible and inspiring. The funds raised by In the Pink go back to our community and I’m honored to serve on the 2019 committee as a volunteer.”

Original Article from: