Breast Cancer Survivors Lead Pink Ribbon Fund Efforts

From Timeless in Bedford County Magazine No. 2

The Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund works year-round to raise funds and awareness in the battle against breast cancer. Leading the way is the Pink Ribbon Committee, comprised largely of local survivors, along with community leaders whose family and friends have been impacted by the disease.

“Bedford County takes care of their own!” said Dr. Katherine Erlichman, chair of the Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund and two-time breast cancer survivor.  “That was the premise of founding the Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund. The fact that many of us have been down that road allows us to hopefully provide some inspiration as well: if we beat cancer, they can too.”

The fund’s highest-profile events take place in the fall, with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The annual Pink Ribbon Walk (scheduled for Saturday, October 19th) draws hundreds of participants; the Bedford Sunrise Rotary Club has added a Pink Ribbon 5K as part of the Rotary Race Series, drawing runners to the cause, and the committee’s first Mammogram Day was held in 2018 at UPMC Bedford and other facilities, with free screenings and valuable information in a cheerful atmosphere to encourage awareness and early detection.

Juli’s Wearable Art holds a Fashion Show for a Cause with proceeds benefiting the Pink Ribbon Fund

Local businesses join in the effort as well, including Juli’s Wearable Art in downtown Bedford. This spring, JWA will hold its third Fashion Show for a Cause, with proceeds benefiting the Pink Ribbon Fund.  Survivors will serve as some of the evening’s models, showcasing their bravery as well as the beautiful clothing.

“I love having this (fashion show) every year,” said Juli’s Wearable Art Owner, Juli Dull Gonsman. “It is a perfect marriage of promoting our quality products while giving back to our community. This year is special to me because I have worked with many women on the committee and consider them close friends. I really admire their courage and strength and look forward to making them feel like the stars of the evening!” 

“We are blessed with corporate contributions from so many businesses in addition to Juli’s wearable Art,” added Dr. Erlichman. “Pennwood Ophthalmic Associates, Thomas Chevrolet, Bedford Elks, Bedford Candies, Checkered Flag Fast Oil Change, and many more.  But the bottom line is that Bedford County contributions remain in Bedford County.”

Pink Ribbon funds, administrated through Bedford County Endowments are thoughtfully dispersed to local breast cancer patients, providing assistance with medical bills, travel expenses and other immediate needs. 

Additional monies are available, and the Fund is always accepting new referrals and requests, reviewed by an allocation committee comprised entirely of breast cancer survivors. Information on how breast cancer patients may request assistance is available online at BedfordCountyPinkRibbonFund.com.

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