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Pink Ribbon Society struggling
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Pink Ribbon Society struggling

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2019 Pink Ribbon Luncheon

Pink Ribbon Society founder Ann Peters talks to the crowd during the 2019 Pink Ribbon Luncheon Sunday at Avalon Manor Banquet Center.

MERRILLVILLE — As the new year approaches, the Pink Ribbon Society is hoping for a miracle. 

This summer, the nonprofit called on the community for help by sending out an SOS (save our society) call. Founder Ann Peters said the organization still has a long way to go. 

"It's really getting difficult, and without some kind of boost in our revenue, our concern is that we'll have to close our doors, and we're trying real, real hard not to do that," Peters said. 

Peters said everyone is struggling right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, noting organizations, including the Pink Ribbon Society, had to cancel annual fundraisers. 

"COVID doesn't cancel breast cancer. It continues to happen, and there are people who were diagnosed before the COVID hit. There have been people who have been diagnosed since the COVID," said Peters, a 43-year breast cancer survivor.

"The COVID doesn't stop cancer, and we don't want the COVID to stop us, either." 

So far, the Society has raised some money through its SOS campaign, a checkout challenge at Strack & Van Til in October, a fundraiser with Southlake Nissan and online auctions, Peters said. 

The Society also has received a grant from the Crown Point Community Foundation. 

Despite the grant and fundraisers, the society still needs about two-thirds of its annual $150,000 operating budget. 

"We're just trying to find an angel who is willing to do a matching funds program with us," Peters said. 

For 19 years, the Pink Ribbon Society has helped men and women throughout Northwest Indiana who are affected by breast cancer. 

Every year, the Pink Ribbon Society underwrites patient compression sleeves, as well as 250-300 mammograms and ultrasounds, totaling more than $50,000; donates $10,000 to help patients who lost their hair during treatment afford wigs; provides Bundles of Hope bags for patients arriving to their first treatment; and gives gift cards to patients in treatment and in need of financial help.

"We may have to distribute less per program, but we won't stop distributing. We are here for a particular purpose, and we are going to continue to provide that," Peters said.

Thus far, the Society has donated $650,000 to help breast cancer survivors and patients in the Northwest Indiana community, Peters said. 

"I am so proud of what we've done," Peters said. "It's difficult to walk away from something like this, when it comes from the heart, when it's a passion. We'll just keep going." 

Currently, the Society is raising funds by selling copies of its 2021 breast cancer survivors' calendar. Calendars are $10 each and feature survivors who have been featured in the past 20 years. 

The nonprofit also has a GoFundMe

"We're not going to stop fundraising. We're just going to keep it going," Peters said. 

Peters said people can call the Society at 219-472-0704, or visit the Society at 303 E. 89th Ave., Suite 100, Merrillville, to learn more about the programs it supports. 

Breast Cancer Awareness in NWI: The Times tells the stories of the Region's survivors and those who offer support

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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