Oct. 1 event will raise funds for research and prevention

By Paige Kieffer


The third annual Pink Event will kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month 6-8:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, at Pique Travel, 362 Third St., Excelsior.

The event is a fundraising social, promoting local businesswomen while raising funds for breast cancer research and prevention for the American Cancer Society of Minnesota.

Founder Kara Schmitz, of Excelsior, started the event three years ago.

Schmitz said, “A few years ago a lot of boutiques were opening up and I thought a breast cancer fundraiser would be a great way to help local businesses while at the same time raising awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer.”

Schmitz had already been effected by breast cancer. Her mother, Marilyn, died from breast cancer at the age of 40 in 1990 after a three-year long battle.

A number of Schmitz’s family friends, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother and aunts either battled breast cancer or died from it.

“So many people in my life have been touched by this disease,” she said. “Pretty much everyone on my mom’s side of the family including her mom, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother ended up having breast cancer. It’s scary. With having so many family members passing away it has always in my mind on when am I going to get it.”

Schmitz, 36, said she recently went through her fifth annual mammogram to screen for beast cancer. She also had the BRCA gene testing, and it came back negative.

“I am still essentially waiting for the dreaded day I’m diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said. “This disease is so very prevalent in the female population, and even more so in my maternal family health history.”

Wanting to take a stand against breast cancer and honor her mother, Schmitz created Team Marilyn in 2003 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Funds raised go to the American Cancer Society of Minnesota.

“Team Marilyn’s motto is ‘Ambition on a mission,’” said Schmitz. “We are on our way to find a cure and prevention for breast cancer by promoting prevention of the disease, and funding for research.”

This year, the walk is at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, at U.S. Bank Stadium, 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis. For more information, visit bit.ly/2pvyps9.

Schmitz said, “I encourage women to be aware of your health and go get checked by a doctor. Don’t let it wait!”

To learn more about breast cancer and warning signs, visit worldwidebreastcancer.org and cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html.

The Pink Event started at her home in Excelsior, and the past two years Pique Travel has donated their space to host the event.

Many local boutiques, businesses and donors are helping sponsor the event and have donated silent auction items.

The event will also include a fashion show, swag bags, prizes and shopping opportunities.

Schmitz said, “It’s amazing on how much support we’ve received from the community and local businesses who want to support the event.”

Excelsior photographer Tracie Bea Daum will also display a photo series featuring breast cancer fighters and survivors. Along with their portraits will also be a write-up about each woman’s story.

“I wanted to do this photo series because I wanted to raise awareness for breast cancer and tell these amazing women’s personal stories,” Daum said. “I think it’s important to focus on that breast cancer can effect generations of women in many different ways. This is one way I can tell their stories,”

The event is free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, visit bit.ly/2x47WVw.

Follow Paige Kieffer on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunsailor.

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