HAMMOND │ Horseshoe Casino kicked off breast cancer awareness month Wednesday by inviting local survivors to help light the building pink.
After flipping the “pink” switch on certain areas of the casino floor, survivors were treated to free hands of blackjack. Each time they beat a dealer Horseshoe donated $100 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Jill Sullivan, director of income development for the Chicago affiliate of Susan G. Komen, said they first partnered with Horseshoe last year in a relationship that’s been “amazing.”
“They’ve been a wonderful partner,” said Sullivan, a breast cancer survivor herself. “We’re looking forward to it to grow. It’s so great to be able to recognize survivors.”
One of those who helped turn on the pink lights was Sharon Whiting, of Schererville.
Whiting, 73, is a two-time survivor, having first been diagnosed in 1990 and again in 2005.
“I think this is awesome,” she said. “Any place that can raise anything and bring awareness — I have five women in my family and we all worry.”
Whiting said testing has showed she is not a carrier of breast cancer but wants to make sure everyone in her family keeps up with proper screening.
“That’s what you have to do,” she said. “You’ve got to keep on it. If you have it in your family you have to watch.”
Throughout the month, Horseshoe will have 5,000 pink commemorative $5 chips in circulation on the floor, 10 blackjack tables re-felted in pink, pink decks of cards for sale at the gift shop and a donation box shaped like a giant pink ribbon.
Breast cancer survivor Mary Jane Reilly, of Chicago, lauded the casino's efforts.
“Anything that empowers women and promotes the cause is a good thing,” she said. “The more people you can make aware the better it is for everybody.”