24e throws Pink Party for Breast Cancer Awareness
Published 1:08 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021
By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer
PELHAM – 24e Fitness in Pelham hosted their second annual Pink Party on Saturday, Sept. 25. Inside the Zumba studio of the gym, attendees were clad in pink and ready to take part in a special Zumba class to raise awareness of breast cancer and breast cancer survivors.
The Pink Party was started by 24e’s Libby Schropp, a survivor of breast cancer for 16 years and the leader of the Zumba session. As a survivor, Schropp wanted to do something special to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so she hosted her first Pink Party this time last year and it was an instant success.
Schropp said the gym will host a number of events throughout the month of October, and proceeds from the events will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama. The majority of the foundation’s research is at UAB, though they also support the Mitchell Cancer Institute in Mobile and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville.
“In the past 25 years, we have invested $11 million in Alabama to support breast cancer research,” said Beth Davis, the executive director for the foundation. “Everything we raise in Alabama stays in Alabama funding breast cancer research.”
Davis expressed gratitude for the Pink Party and everyone who came out to dance in the fight against cancer.
“It is so exciting because all funds raised will go towards research and help save lives,” Davis said. “It’s great to see community groups, organizations and individuals step in and ask how they can help in creative ways.”
People of all ages who have been impacted by breast cancer were in attendance, ranging from breast cancer survivors, family members and loved ones. The room grew emotional at the survivors’ walk, where survivors of breast cancer walked across the stage and were presented a pink rose and sash. One of the survivors was ABC 33/40’s Brenda Ladun, a two-time cancer survivor and the keynote speaker for the Pink Party.
“I’m going to share something with you,” Ladun told the crowd. “The reason I’m crying is because I lost my sister to breast cancer three weeks ago. It’s not something I want to post on Facebook, she was a very private person and she asked me not to, but I will tell people. Because there’s power in all of us sharing. There is power in each and every one of you.”
Ladun walked across the stage and expressed frustration at the stigma of talking about cancer in regular conversation.
“If there is a killer in the neighborhood, you would pick up your phone, and call 10 of your best friends and relatives to stay alert and be safe. Why not do that with breast cancer?” Ladun asked the audience. “Talking about it will save lives. I have talked about it since 2001. I thought about how if I could feel so good and healthy and at the same time have this cancer growing in my body, then my sisters, my brothers, aunts, uncles, mothers, daughters could have it growing in them, too. It’s a killer in the neighborhood, and we need to talk about it.”
Ladun encouraged everyone in the audience to go get tested and to also tell their loved ones to get tested.
“Early detection is the key to survival,” said Ladun. “What we need to do is tell say 10 people you love that this crazy news anchor that sits next to James Spann told you to tell 10 people that you love them enough to tell them to go get checked for cancer. One yearly checkup can save your life.”
Davis said there are approximately 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the world, and people should continue to fund research due to the always-growing scientific developments being studied every day.
“One in eight women and one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime,” Davis said. “Everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by breast cancer in some way. These types of events show people they are not alone, which is very important when you’re going through treatment. There are other survivors and people who want to lift people up who are going through treatment. It gives people hope.”