MU Health Care celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Events like Pink Pursuit seek to raise funds for mammograms at Ellis Fischel.

With the start of October comes the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The month is dedicated to the early detection, treatment and research of breast cancer. The month also celebrates those who have died from and those who have survived breast cancer.

MU Health Care and the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center event coordinators have plans to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with various events and projects centered around breast cancer prevention and awareness.

An annual event called “Pink Pursuit” was held Saturday to raise funds for mammograms at Ellis Fischel.

The event featured a crawl through restaurants in downtown Columbia, where participants answered trivia questions and received free pink drinks at each location.

Restaurants that participated in the event included Quinton’s, Room 38, Teller’s, Nash Vegas and Broadway Brewery.

After the trivia crawl, guests made their way to the patio of Willie’s Fieldhouse for a cocktail party and silent auction.

The auction featured gift certificates; items such as diamond earrings and an autographed photo of Truman the Tiger; and signed Mizzou Athletics merchandise donated by local businesses and the sports teams.

Event coordinator Liz Schulte said this year’s event drew more than 100 people and raised enough money to fund at least 85 mammograms for underinsured or uninsured women.

“We look for bigger and better things each year,” she said. “Honestly, each year we have surpassed my goal. I’m certain we can provide more mammograms than ever before.”

Schulte said the event planning has been underway for months.

“We appreciate her and all the organizers of these events,” MU Health Care spokesman Derek Thompson said.

Columbia Hy-Vee stores will also raise money for mammograms at Ellis Fischel by selling “Cupcakes for a Cure.”

Artistic members of the community have been using their talents to design bras for the 2014 Artful Bra Reception, in which contestants submit themed bras to be judged and auctioned off at the event at Ellis Fischel on Oct. 16.

Event coordinator Alison Pantuso said the silent auction is divided into five categories: A, B, C, D and E cups.

“The submissions are very creative,” she said.

One contestant from each category will win a gift basket that includes items donated by local businesses.

Proceeds from the contest will also be used to fund mammograms at the center.

MU Health Care also sponsored a T-shirt contest, in which Mizzou fans submitted pink T-shirt designs to be worn by 900 fans in Tiger’s Lair at the Missouri-Georgia game Oct. 11.

Thompson said nearly 280 pink lights will shine throughout several MU Health Care buildings, including Ellis Fischel.

Ellis Fischel’s Healing Garden will also glow pink.

“(The garden) is an area to reflect,” Thompson said. “We will also be shining two large pink ribbons … on the exterior of University Hospital.”

She said another “Mammothon” will take place later this year, where staff at Ellis Fischel provide mammograms during extended hours for women who might work during the day.

Women who are ages 40 and older or have a physician’s recommendation are eligible for a mammogram. Those patients with medical insurance may have their provider cover the costs while uninsured or underinsured women may be provided grant funding to pay for their exam.

“Mammography is the best screening technique for catching breast cancer early,” Thompson said.

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