Photos by Kennedy Wells
Kennedy Wells Data News Weekly Contributor
New Orleans kicked off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as only the Mardi Gras city could with a Krewe Prom dedicated to fighting against this prevalent disease.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, and about 290,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women within the year 2022,” said Dr. Wanda Henderson-Thomas, a physician at Ochsner LSU Health, Shreveport.
While breast cancer affects all women, Black women are twice as likely to have a more aggressive form of the disease and are 30-percent more likely to die from it, according to 2022 data from the American Cancer Society.
Local organizations are using the month of October for fundraising for breast cancer research efforts across the city. The Krewe de Pink was founded in 2011 by Gregory Cantrell as a nonprofit, volunteer organization that hosts cancer research support events throughout the year.
“Krewe de Pink is all about having fun but making sure we’re still raising that money so that researchers can do what they need to,” said Dawn Arevalo, the Chair of the Krewe de Pink Prom Committee.
Krewe de Pink held its annual Krewe de Pink Prom on Saturday, Oct. 8th at 7 p.m. at the Jung Hotel. The prom was an opportunity for community members to dance, party, and raise money for breast cancer research. Eventgoers were dressed in pink from head to toe. Pink headdresses, pink dresses, and even pink suits were seen at every turn.
“I want to make sure that there is enough funding and opportunities for survivors to party and enjoy life as a result of what they’ve been through. It is important to me to support the cause by doing what I’m good at [performing], to make sure people have awareness about breast cancer,” said Kimberly Turk, the live singer for the prom.
The prom featured two main fundraising events: the raffle and the silent auction. The ballroom was filled with auction items for attendees to bid on. Auction items included custom decorated bras, paintings of fruit, a neon sign, a picnic basket, and even a Fall charcuterie bin. By the end of the night, the silent auction raised over $5,804 for breast cancer research.
Any prom would not have been complete without the crowning of a king and queen. The king and queen were not decided by votes but rather by the amount of raffle tickets sold. The 2022 Prom King Chris Lightfoot submitted 115 raffle tickets and 2022 Prom Queen Jen Bourgeois submitted 118 tickets. The raffle raised $2,825 for breast cancer awareness.
The money from this event goes directly to researchers in the cancer field. Krewe de Pink works closely with Tulane University’s Cancer Research Center.
“They [researchers] are able to take the money that we donate to them because it is unrestricted money and use it to stop-gap those things that grants don’t cover. This is money they can use to help progress their research and we’ve seen them make some pretty big strides,” Arevalo said.
Eventgoers said how important this cause was to their hearts and that raising awareness and money for research is necessary.
“I have friends and family members who’ve lost people to breast cancer. A good friend of mine from grade school lost a parent to breast cancer recently. Overall, it’s a very important cause to be able to raise funds and have it actually go to helping cancer research. That’s what I love about this organization,” said Danielle Tanguis, who said she was a “faithful” Krewe de Pink prom attendee.