Charlotte breast cancer group raises $1 million
Friday, Oct. 25, 2013

Charlotte breast cancer group raises $1 million

    This year, the BCC Rally added the Walk and Wag Pink-a-thon, which is an event geared toward families with dogs. David Staffieri and his daughter walked with Brooke Christmas and her daughter during this year’s walk.
    The BCC Rally now hosts five events annually during multiple days, including a ladies tennis match.

What started as a small fundraiser among Ballantyne neighbors has catapulted into the most successful fundraising organization in the history of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The BCC Rally, which raises money every year for breast cancer awareness and research, recently surpassed the $1 million mark during its 10 years of fundraising. It’s the first Komen rally in the country to achieve that level.

In honor of the milestone, Komen National will recognize the rally with a special award in November.

The rally also will be inducted into the Lifetime Pink Ribbon Circle, a society of Komen’s top corporate partners and donors who have each invested more than $1 million.

“We’re thrilled,” said Sue Dockstader, board president for the BCC Rally. “But there is still a lot more work to do so that we can continue to help women in need in the community.”

The mission of BCC Rally, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, is to raise awareness about breast cancer and offer financial support for Rally for the Cure to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure .

The rally was organized in 2004 when a group of Ballantyne Country Club members held a golf tournament and raised $1,000 from a small raffle, which they gave to Komen.

Dockstader said that while a lot of Komen rallies remain small grassroots events among golf groups, tennis groups and the like, the BCC Rally has expanded during the years because of forward-thinking leadership and community support.

The organization now hosts five events annually during multiple days, including a ladies golf tournament and lunch, a men’s golf tournament, a ladies tennis match, a pink bow gala and a pink ribbon campaign.

This year they added the Walk and Wag Pink-a-thon. Participants walked, ran, cycled, and scootered along a 3K loop course. Festivities included raffles, a silent auction, face painting and a photo booth.

The various events helped the BCC rally reach $935,000 last year. Although final numbers on what the rally raised in 2013 won’t be available until mid-November, Dockstader confirmed that donations had helped them surpass $1 million.

That money equates to helping 3,750 people get life-saving preventative tests and procedures, said Dockstader.

“Without our money, those people might have died,” she said. “Hopefully that’s the telling number that we have reached that many people to give them a chance to battle this disease.”

Lynda Stadler, spokeswoman for Susan G. Komen Charlotte, praised the BCC Rally for its “phenomenal group of women and men” who organize the various fundraising events each year.

“They’re always dedicated to the cause,” she said. “It kind of snowballed into really a full-fledged grassroots campaign which is particularly nice because that’s how Susan G. Komen started.”

Carol Aaron, who organizes the Pink Bow portion of the BCC Rally, said the rally is blessed to have a close-knit group of volunteers who return each year with better ideas.

Aaron said that last year in the Pink Bow campaign, volunteers sold $57,000 worth of bows, or about 6,000 bows.

Aaron said the importance of breast cancer awareness and early detection is a personal issue.

Her mother-in-law was diagnosed twice with breast cancer, once in her late 30s and once in her 60s.

The two-time survivor died a couple of years ago, although not from breast cancer, said Aaron.

“I’m a strong believer of early detection,” she said. “She was able to live well into her 80s because of early detection.”

The outlook for patients diagnosed with breast cancer has become more promising since Susan G. Komen started in 1982, said Dockstader.

In 1982, 74 percent of women diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer lived beyond the five-year mark. In 2013, that figure is closer to 98 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero

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