This is the Facebook status Marnie Kennedy, 43, of Myrtle Beach posts when we sit down to chat with her about upcoming breast cancer awareness events happening along the Grand Strand throughout October, otherwise known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
These two simple words, amid the traffic of status updates, photos, and recipes clogging the Facebook pipeline, cause us to pause and take a second look, and ultimately, this is her goal.
When Kennedy, a wife, mother, and full-time bartender at Island Bar & Grill in Surfside Beach is not busy working or taking care of her family, she’s very passionate about raising money and awareness for breast cancer.
“Breast cancer is my No. 1 cause,” Kennedy says. “You’re hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by it.”
Her mother, who had to have a double mastectomy, was a breast cancer survivor. And although her mother has since passed away, Kennedy continues to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research in honor of her, as well as all the amazing survivors she has met along the way.
“I’m pretty passionate about it,” she says. “Over the years, as I have made (breast cancer awareness) my cause, I have also gotten to know a lot of other women.”
One such woman is Gretchen Almeida, a breast cancer survivor and teacher at Forestbrook Middle School, where Kennedy serves as president of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization. In honor of Almeida’s courage, Kennedy is dedicating her participation in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer to her, as well as in the memory of her mother.
Over the course of two days, Oct. 19-20, Kennedy and her friend Lauri Doss of Myrtle Beach will team up to walk 39 miles throughout New York City as participants in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
Walkers were required to raise a minimum of $1,800 to participate, and Kennedy says she reached her fundraising goal within a week of signing up for the walk almost a year ago. Money raised from the walk will benefit the Avon Foundation for Women, which supports a national network of more than 200 medical, research, social service, and community-based organizations that work to help breast cancer patients and further breast cancer research.
While she is excited about participating in the Avon Walk, it has not been her only focus. Several fundraisers here in Myrtle Beach during the month of October are even closer to her heart.
“I’m really all about letting people know that there are ways they can help without having to do something extreme,” she says.
She focuses her efforts to help raise awareness and money for the Best Chance Network, which provides qualified women with free breast and cervical cancer screenings.
The Best Chance Network operates through a partnership between the American Cancer Society, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and a network of private and public health providers. Women between the ages of 47-64 with no insurance that meet certain income guidelines are eligible for free breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Karaoke for the Cure, set for Oct. 26 at Island Bar and Grill in Surfside Beach, where Kennedy has been employed for the last seven years, is one of the local events she started to benefit the Best Chance Network. This year will mark its third year, and with a $10 donation, participants can enjoy an evening of karaoke, a pasta dinner, and receive one drink and raffle ticket.
“I started it because I found a lot of people want to help, but not everyone wants to run a 5K or play in a golf tournament,” she says. “I wanted to find a way people could feel a part of it and help do something.”
Kennedy has also coordinated with Coccadotts Cake Shop in Myrtle Beach for its Cupcakes for the Cure. From Monday through Oct. 13, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of pink-themed cupcakes and T-shirts at the gourmet cupcake shop will also benefit the Best Chance Network.
“It’s a great way for kids to feel like they’re doing something, even if it’s as simple as buying a cupcake, they’re making a difference,” she says.
When Kennedy is not busy volunteering her time to organize breast cancer awareness events, she works as an Event Coordinator for Myrtle Beach for Brides Against Breast Cancer. This national organization provides free information, programs, and services to cancer patients, caregivers, and family members affected by breast cancer through affiliations with national and local cancer support organizations.
Last year, she assisted with coordinating the organization’s signature event, the Nationwide Tour of Gowns, a traveling wedding dress fashion show and sale, when it made a stop in Myrtle Beach. This year, to benefit the organization, she’s planned Ladies Night of Laughter, a comedy show and fundraiser to be held Nov. 9 at the Carolina Comedy Club in Myrtle Beach.
While Kennedy is striving to make a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer, she is just one person in a large movement that will take center stage this month.
Since October is branded as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, retailers, restaurants, organizations, businesses, and charities throughout the United States are stepping up in support of breast cancer awareness, prevention, research and early diagnosis.
Along with fundraisers, walks, and golf tournaments, everything from T-shirt sales, to pink-themed foods, merchandise, and sports gear will incorporate the color pink and go on sale during October. The goal is not only to raise awareness, but funds to benefit a list of national and local charities, research organizations, hospitals, screening programs, and more.
Local organizations such as the Best Chance Network and Caring In Our Lifetime - a non-profit dedicated to financially helping those within Horry and Georgetown counties affected by breast cancer- have collaborated with businesses, retailers and restaurants along the Grand Strand to host events and fundraisers - and the sheer number of events has mushroomed in recent years.
While national organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the American Cancer Society continue to work within communities, they also have taken their fundraising to broader levels, partnering with national corporations and businesses to spread their message.
One such effective program is the National Football League’s (NFL) Crucial Catch program. Coaches, referees, and players from seventeen NFL markets will wear pink game apparel on the field, use special game balls, and coins throughout the month of October, auctioning them off afterwards to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in women, and ranks second among cancer deaths in women after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 3,580 women in South Carolina alone will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and an estimated 660 women in South Carolina will die from breast cancer this year.
Those numbers are just a fraction of the estimated 232,340 new cases expected to be diagnosed in the United States, and the projected 40,030 deaths from breast cancer expected nationally by year’s end, according to the American Cancer Society.
Whether it’s selling merchandise, holding a fundraising event, or selling pink-themed foods or drinks, many businesses along the Grand Strand are partaking in the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness and funds.
If you want to donate, volunteer, or help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and prevention, check out this calendar of related events, listed chronologically, happening around the Myrtle Beach area.
Tanger PinkSTYLE Campaign
Through Oct. 25
For $5, available at Shoppers Services, customers can purchase a five pack of 25 percent discount on a single item Pink Card savings passes good at participating stores. Or, for $10, the Pink Style E-Savings Pass can be purchased for unlimited use of 25 percent savings on a single item at participating stores and is available online only at www.tangeroutlets.com. Some restrictions apply.
Both Myrtle Beach area Tanger Outlet Centers are participating in the campaign, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Conway Medical Center, Caring In Our Lifetime, and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Where: Tanger Outlet Center- U.S. 17, 10835 Kings Road, Myrtle Beach, 449-0491
Tanger Outlet Center- U.S. 501, 4635 Factory Stores Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, 236-5100
Cost: $5 for Pink Card 5-pack/$10 for Pink Style E-Savings Pass (available online only)
For more information, visit www.tangeroulets.com.
Chicks Rule at Salt Water Creek Café Breast Cancer Awareness T-Shirts
Through Oct. 31
Pink breast cancer awareness themed T-shirts are on sale during the whole month with all proceeds benefitting Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: Salt Water Creek Café, 4660 U.S. 17, Murrells Inlet
Cost: $10 per T-shirt
For more information, call 357-2433 or visit www.saltwatercreekcafe.com.
Pink Kiss Dessert Martini
Limited edition Pink Kiss dessert martini is on sale at six area CentraArchy Restaurants with 50 percent of each sale benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Where: California Dreaming, 10429 N Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 663-2050
2657 Beaver Run Boulevard, Surfside Beach, 215-5255
Carolina Roadhouse, 4617 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, 497-9911
Fiesta del Burro Loco, 960 Jason Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, 626-1756
Gulfstream Café, 1536 South Waccamaw Drive, Garden City Beach, 651-8808
New York Prime, 405 28th Avenue N, Myrtle Beach, 448-8081
Cost: $6.95 each at all restaurants excluding New York Prime, $9.50 each at New York Prime. Fiesta del Burro Loco will also offer pitchers for $22.50.
For more information, visit www.centraarchy.com.
NASCAR SpeedPark Myrtle Beach Breast Cancer Awareness Month Online Special
Through Oct. 27, available online only
Unlimited ride wristbands sold online only for $19.99, plus tax and online processing fee (regularly $29.99), with $1 from each sale donated to Caring In Our Lifetime. (Some attractions are not included and the offer is not good with other discounts or offers.)
Where: 1820 21st Avenue N. Ext., Myrtle Beach
Cost: $19.99 plus tax and online processing fee per person
For more information, call 918-8725, or to purchase the wristband, visit www.nascarspeedpark.com.
Pink Sales at Beautiful Salon & Spa
Through Oct. 31
During October, 10 percent of so-called “Pink Sales,” which include hair color, hair extensions, makeup and pink products, will be donated to the Georgetown Hospital Systems Women’s Indigent Breast Cancer Fund.
Where: Beautiful Salon & Spa, 11983 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
Cost: Varies by service
For more information, call 237-2333, or visit www.beautifulsalonandspa.net.
Save the Chi Chi’s T-Shirts
Through Oct. 31
“Save the Chi Chi’s” T-shirts, as well as pink margaritas, are on sale at area El Cerro Mexican Bar & Grill restaurants with proceeds benefiting Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: 2738 Beaver Run Boulevard, Surfside Beach
3914 U.S. 17, North Myrtle Beach
108 South Kings Highway, North Myrtle Beach
3779 Renee Drive, Myrtle Beach
516 U.S. 17, Little River
3021 U.S. 17, Garden City Beach
829 Church Street, Georgetown
101 Rivertown Blvd., Conway
Cost: $10 per T-shirt
For more information, call 910-399-6234 or visit www.elcerrograndemexicanrestaurant.com.
Bras Across the Water
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 5)
The Freedom Boat Club hosts this event on the docks of Harbourgate Marina featuring a breast cancer informational booth supplied by the American Cancer Society, a BBQ cook-off contest, live bands, raffles, a Chinese auction and kids events.
In addition to the activities, a bra-stringing ceremony will occur at the event. Bras, collected and donated throughout the community with $1 pinned to them during the month of September and up until the event, will be strung across the water in a what’s described as a “chain of hope.” All proceeds from the event will benefit the American Cancer Society. Bras collected will be donated to local women’s shelters, half-way houses, and thrift shops supporting women and teen programs.
Where: Harbourgate Marina, 2120 Sea Mountain Highway, North Myrtle Beach
Cost: Donations vary by activity and vendor
For more information, contact the Freedom Boat Club at 399-8711.
In the Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and Survivor Celebration
Saturday (Oct. 5); Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., walk begins at 10 a.m.
A two-mile walk, organized by Georgetown Hospital System, will begin and end at the Imaging Center at Waccamaw Medical Park East, proceeding through the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet.
Prior to the walk, participants can partake in a pink bake sale, complimentary Shutterbooth photos, and musical performance by Paul Grimshaw. Proceeds to benefit the Georgetown Hospital System Indigent Breast Cancer Fund and Susan G. Komen Lowcountry.
Where: Georgetown Hospital System Imaging Center, 4181 US 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet
Cost: $30 per person
For more information or to register, call 652-8080, or visit www.georgetownhospitalsystem.org/breastcancerwalk
Party in Pink Zumbathon
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 5)
A Zumba fitness class with proceeds to benefit the Zumba Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention.
Where: Brickhouse Cardio Club, 510-C US 17, Surfside Beach
Cost: Advance tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members; Tickets at the door are $15 for members, $20 for non-members
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 655-0839, or visit http://partyinpinkbrickhousesurfside.eventbrite.com.
Holly’s 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon
12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 6)
Participants can register for this luncheon featuring door prizes, informative speakers, and more, with proceeds to benefit Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: Prestwick Country Club, 1001 Links Road, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $25 per person
For more information or to register, call 450-6590.
Cupcakes for the Cure
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Monday (Oct. 7) through Oct. 13
Pink-themed cupcakes and T-shirts will be on sale at Coccadotts Cake Shop with proceeds benefitting the Best Chance Network.
Where: Coccadotts Cake Shop, 106 Sayebrook Parkway, Suite 2, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $2.50 per cupcake; $12 T-shirts
For more information, call 294-2253, or visit www.coccadotts.com.
Mammo Mondays at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Monday in October (beginning Oct. 7)
Every Monday in the month of October, staff members of the Breast Health Center will be available in the main lobby to provide information on breast health and assist patients with scheduling mammograms.
Where: Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, 809 82nd Parkway, Myrtle Beach
For more information, call 692-1000, or visit www.grandstrandmed.com.
Dillard’s Fit for the Cure Event
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 11
For every bra fitting done at Dillard’s, $2 will be donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. An additional $2 will be donated for every Wacoal bra purchased during the event.
Where: 100 Coastal Grand Circle, Myrtle Beach
For more information, call 839-2917, or visit www.dillards.com.
Flock This Way! Flock Walk
Oct.12; Registration begins at 9 a.m., walk begins at 10 a.m.
This walk will wind 1.3 miles through Barefoot Landing, beginning and ending at Flying Fish Public Market & Grill. After the walk, participants are invited to the Flock Party. Along with refreshments and prizes, flamingo art created by local artists and the ‘Pink Your Flamingo’ finals and will be held with the art put up for auction. All proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society.
Where: Flying Fish Public Market & Grill, 4744 U.S. 17, North Myrtle Beach
Cost: $25 adults/$15 children
For more information or to register for the event, contact the American Cancer Society at 213-0333, or the Barefoot Landing Management Office at 272-8349.
Island Green Breast Cancer Awareness Golf Tournament
9 a.m. Oct. 12
Golf tournament with pink balloon release, raffles, prizes and a guest speaker; event to benefit Caring In Our Lifetime. Registration fee includes golf, cook out, and one raffle ticket at the door.
Where: Island Green Country Club, 600 Sunnehanna Drive, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $40 per person
For more information or to register, call 650-0005 or e-mail email@example.com.
Koozies for Boobies Breast Cancer Awareness Party
8 p.m. Oct. 12
This event at Wet Willie’s at Broadway at the Beach features a live band and raffle to win $100 Wet Willie’s gift card. Pink breast cancer awareness themed merchandise will also be on sale, including pink beads, pink jelly wristbands, Koozies for Boobies T-shirts, koozies, and pink coolies. A portion of the sales will benefit a breast cancer charity.
Where: Wet Willie’s, 1306 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach
Cost: Free to attend
For more information, call 448-5653, or visit www.wetwillies.com.
Power of Pink Color Explosion Zumbathon
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13
An outdoor Zumba fitness class; proceeds from the event to benefit the Best Chance Network. Participants are asked to wear white and pink workout gear.
Where: Identity Fitness, 215 Ronnie Court, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $10 donation per person
For more information, call 236-3300, or visit www.identity-fitness.com.
The Bra-Ha-Ha: A Seriously Uplifting Experience
1 p.m. Oct. 19
A fundraiser to benefit The Best Chance Network. Call venue for additional details.
Where: The Marlin Bar & Grill, 614 Atlantic Avenue, Garden City Beach
For more information, call 357-7220, or visit www.gardencitymarlin.com.
4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 19
Hard Rock Café hosts this event on its outdoor patio, where participants can enjoy performances by local musicians including Chasing Revelry, Paul Grimshaw Band, Stevie Mac, Juilo & the Saltines, and The Revival, along with a performance by Legends in Concert entertainers.
Along with a Kids Fun Zone from 4 – 7 p.m., raffles, prizes, and a chance to win a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., the pyramid will turn pink at dusk. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society and the event will be held in honor and memory of Rhonda Brown, former secretary to Chief Alvin Payne of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department.
Where: Hard Rock Café, 1322 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach
Cost: No cover, donations vary by activity
For more information, call 946-0007, or visit www.hardrock.com.
Couture for the Cure: A Roaring Affair Bridal Fashion Show and Fundraiser
5:30 p.m. Oct. 20
Attendees can enjoy a champagne and hors d’oeuvre reception with performance by U-N-I Jazz Trio prior to the bridal fashion show hosted by Little White Dress. Proceeds from the event benefit Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: Dunes Golf and Beach Club, 9000 North Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $65 per person
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 449-4940.
Rock the Ribbon
1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 20
This all-day music event features a line-up of local musicians including Angie Capone, Broken Strings, Chasin’ Jasons, Lunar Fizz and many more, along with raffles, prizes, and food and drink specials. Proceeds benefit Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill, 201 Fantasy Harbour Boulevard, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $5 donation per person
For more information, call 903-2628.
Beauty for the Boobs
Book a service at Lazy Daisy Spa and reference Beauty for the Boobs from Oct. 22-26 and a portion of the service cost will benefit the Best Chance Network.
Where: Lazy Daisy Spa, 4889 U.S. 17 Bypass, Myrtle Beach
Cost: Varies by service
For more information, call 294-1500, or visit www.lazydaisymb.com.
Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraising Event
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24
Fundraising event at the Carolina Forest Chick-fil-A featuring a All-You-Can-Eat-Nugget-Night special for $8.99, pink Chick-fil-A T-shirts for $13, as well as pink ice cream and pink lemonade specials. A portion of the event’s sales and each T-shirt will benefit Caring In Our Lifetime.
Where: Chick-Fil-A Carolina Forest, 85 Rodeo Drive, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $13 T-shirts, $8.99 AYCE Nugget Night, specials vary by product
For more information, call 903-3322.
Walk a Mile in Her Heels
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25
Beginning at 9 a.m., this event at Myrtle Beach Mall begins with the Pink Human Ribbon where participants will be photographed forming a ribbon shape in the food court parking lot, followed by pink refreshments and door prizes.
The McLeod Mammography Unit will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering free mammograms to qualified women with no medical insurance between the ages of 40-64. (To find out if you qualify for a free mammogram at the event, call McLeod Mammography Unit at 390-8326.)
Free lymphedema screenings by McLeoad Seacoast will be offered from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and foot screenings by Coastal Podiatry Associates will be offered from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for registrants at the event.
The mile walk will begin at 4 p.m., starting at Belk department store, followed by refreshments and door prizes. Proceeds from the event will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Where: Myrtle Beach Mall, 10177 North Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $10 in advance, $12 day of the event; No charge to attend the Pink Human Ribbon event
For more information, call 272-4040, or visit ww.mymyrtlebeachmall.com.
Karaoke for the Cure
6 p.m. Oct. 26
An evening of karaoke, drink specials, raffles and prizes. Participants served a pasta dinner, one raffle ticket and one drink ticket with their donation - and of course the chance to unleash their inner “American Idol”. Proceeds benefit Best Chance Network.
Where: Island Bar & Grill, 2272 Glenns Bay Road, Surfside Beach
Cost: $10 donation per person
For more information, call 650-3517.
Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament
11:30 a.m. Oct. 26
A golf tournament at River Oaks Golf Plantation which includes one round of golf, food, beverages, team prizes, goodie bags, and a 50/50 drawing to raise money to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Where: River Oaks Golf Plantation, 831 River Oaks Drive, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $20 entry fee plus $25 golf fee (includes golf, cart, food and beverage), registration ends Oct. 14
For more information, contact Brenda Tuel of Berkshire Forest Birdies at 903-4234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Warriors of Pink Zumbathon
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27
A Zumba fitness class to raise money for the Best Chance Network.
Where: North Strand Park, 120 Highway 57 South, Little River
Cost: $10 donation per person
For more information, call 805-423-8926.
Ladies Night of Laughter
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 9
A night of comedy with proceeds to benefit Brides Against Breast Cancer. Tickets include a beverage and munchies.
Where: Carolina Comedy Club, 1318 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach
Cost: $25 per person
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org.