McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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October 31, 2013

Pink Ribbon Luncheon brings in the crowds

McALESTER — The 2013 Annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon took place Thursday at the Southeast Expo Center.

The mermaid themed luncheon filled the room to capacity with a sea of the mostly pink dressed guests who attended the event.

Organizers say they counted more than 350 attendees  this years who sat at tables decorated with “under-the-sea” centerpieces filled with items such as seashells and sand.

“Its amazing,” said organizer Brytnee Hammonds.

“We are having a great turn out.”

The event is an annual fundraiser for Oklahoma Project Woman, an organization dedicated to providing access to breast health care that will facilitate the early diagnosis and decrease the mortality of breast cancer for uninsured women with limited financial resources, according to okahomaprojectwoman.org.

This is the 16th year the event has taken place in McAlester.

Introducing this year’s speaker was Annie Bogie president of Project Woman.

She said all the money raised will be used locally.

“The money raised in the community will stay in the community,” Bogie aid.

She also said Project Woman has already helped more than 200 women in the McAlester area over the last year.

She introduced speaker Vicki Olson Johnson a breast cancer survivor who used a slide presentation during her speech. Her topic was “Do you know if you have the breast cancer gene?”

She said she’s register nurse who tested positive for both breast and ovarian cancer.

She told the audience about her double mastectomy and she joked about a Tee-shirt she wears that says,

“Yes they are fake, my real ones tried to kill me.”

Olson Johnson encouraged audience members to get tested for the gene and to have family members get tested also.

She used her slide presentation to show members of her family, their relationship to each other and how each could be affected by the gene.

She also said knowledge is power and testing for the gene is key to prevention.

This years Pink Ribbon Committee included Caroline Echelle, American Cancer Society; Brytnee Hammonds, McAlester Regional Health Center; Amy Johns, McAlester News-Capital; Misty Souther, Canadian Valley Telephone; Debbie Watkins, McAlester High School; Susan Williams, MRHC Marketing; Ashley Lerblanc, MRHC pharmacy; Frances Lerblance, Oklahoma Project Woman Board Member.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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