LITTLE ROCK — In its inaugural year in Arkansas, 10 leading women will unite to fight breast cancer with the American Cancer Society through participation in the VIPinks campaign. Keisha McKinney, of De Queen, is a member of this elite group. Throughout October, VIPinks will encourage community members to take action in the fight against breast cancer.
“In addition to wearing pink and raising awareness about breast cancer, these women will be raising funds to help the American Cancer Society attack cancer from every angle and save more lives from breast cancer,” said DeAnna Korte, Senior Manager for Community Development for the American Cancer Society. “Funds raised help us save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research, and patient support.”
Each VIPink participant accepts a fundraising challenge and will compete to be the top fundraiser among her peers by the end of the campaign.
“I am forever indebted to the American Cancer Society. I’m a 12-year cancer survivor and the protocol that sent my cancer into remission was developed by an American Cancer Society funded research team,” stated McKinney. “But fighting this disease is bigger for us. My mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago and continues to fight her battle each day. This month she will travel to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Tex. to seek need treatments and potentially enroll in a clinical trial. I know these are treatment options that were not available 10 years ago when she was diagnosed and that is because of generous donors, talented research teams, and the commitment of the American Cancer Society.”
It is noted that nearly 300,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The American Cancer Society is committed to continue to be the largest funder of cancer research outside of the US government. Each day new therapies, treatment protocols, screening guidelines, and survivorship patterns are being developed through the $64 million invested in cancer research.
During the pandemic, the American Cancer Society has been hit like most non-profits and this year’s VIPinks and Real Men Wear Pink candidates are challenged to continue to raise funds and bring awareness. Locally, McKinney is hosting a freezer meal fundraiser, partnering with local restaurants for a give back night, auctioning drawings by her toddler son, selling tshirts, and receiving online donations at tiny.cc/vipinkkeisha.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, and it is the most common cancer diagnosed in women other than skin cancer.
“Our community can make a huge impact in the breast cancer cause,” said McKinney. “I am as committed now as I have ever been to raising funds and bringing awareness for this esteemed organization. I often get asked how the dollars help locally and I smile and say look at my face. I am here because of pennies, quarters, and dollars donated one at a time. When someone gets diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t matter where they live, they have full access to the resources and treatments developed in the labs where the investment would make the greatest impact. That is always a local impact.”
In addition to funding cancer research, the American Cancer Society provides transportation grants, hotel partnerships, a patient hotline that is available 24/7 at 800-227-2345 and trusted information anytime at cancer.org.
For more information about breast cancer or the VIPinks campaign in Arkansas, call 1-800-227-2345.