Pamper Me Pink ramps up
This year marks the 11th annual Pamper Me Pink, a free community event on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 5 to 8:45 p.m., that encourages women and men to take time out to pamper themselves, have fun and get educated about their health. This year’s event will take place at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Technology Center, 1821 Technology Drive, Culpeper. With a new guest speaker panel format, this year’s event is more anticipated than ever.
From humble beginnings to hundreds of mammograms
More than a decade ago, local resident Sharon Welch Clark opened Pepperberries, a unique gift store in downtown Culpeper. “I was really well received in the community, and I wanted a way to give back,” Clark said. “Most of my customers were female, and I got the idea that I could help women and men who couldn’t afford a mammogram. I figured I’d find a way to raise money to do that.”
And Pamper Me Pink was born.
The first event was held at the Pepperberries store with 25 attendees. In search of a charity partner, Clark admitted she was surprised that she couldn’t find anyone who would be able to use the money she had raised specifically for mammograms. That changed when she teamed with Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center.
“We did it on our own for the first two years, and then partnered with the hospital for the last eight years for Pamper Me Pink, which has allowed us the opportunity to reach a much larger audience,” Clark said. “We’ve been able to raise wonderful amounts of money to help men and women in our community and surrounding communities get their mammograms.”
The event’s fundraising supports the Pamper Me Pink Mammography Fund, which is managed by Culpeper Medical Center and covers mammogram costs for anyone who can’t afford them. “There’s no reason why anyone in our area can’t have a mammogram,” Clark said. “As long as we have the funds, we are able to provide mammograms to anyone in our area who can’t afford them.”
More than a fundraiser
Fundraising has never been the main aim of the event, though Clark admits it’s an excellent byproduct.
“We have food, music, chair massages, paraffin wax hand treatments, and educational speakers,” she said. “It’s all free to the public. I’ve always said as long as it’s my event it’ll always be free. It gives people an opportunity to have a pampering evening out and learn some new information. Everything about it is a win-win.”
“It truly is a night of pampering,” said Tammy Barboza, Culpeper Medical Center service excellence director. “It’s not an all-female event by any stretch. Participants receive wonderful freebie bags; our exhibitors aren’t allowed to sell anything at the event so it’s all free massages, hand treatments, other types of pampering and information about everything from Relay For Life to radiation-oncology.”
Attendees enjoy exhibits from 5 to 6 p.m., and the program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. with an audience-participation game, lots of door prizes and an educational piece, which this year is a panel of speakers who will walk the audience through the cancer journey process. “The goal is education,” Barboza said. “So whoever you are in the audience, whether you’ve been touched by cancer or are gathering information for someone you know, you’ll be able to walk away with something.”
Pamper Me Pink Mammography Fund money is generated through raffle ticket sales and through the generous donation of many corporate and individual sponsors who feel compelled to give.
“Many people have told me that they used to give to larger organizations in the past but now give to us once they realized that 100 percent of every penny that’s given to us or raised by our raffle tickets goes directly to the fund and stays right here in our community to provide our neighbors with mammograms,” Clark said.
A Culpeper tradition
The event’s size, popularity and the hundreds of mammograms covered over the past 11 years are a testament to Pamper Me Pink’s success. “Many participants from our very first year have attended the event every single year, which is just awesome,” Clark said. “I am amazed and humbled at its success. Every year I say you could be sitting next to someone who could not afford a hamburger at McDonald’s or next to someone who could buy a McDonald’s. People hug and laugh and cry and share stories – it’s pretty amazing.”
Barboza said, “It’s really, truly a Culpeper tradition.”
Look for more information about this year’s event, including how and where to purchase raffle tickets, in future Huddles and Engage newsletters. For general information about the event, call Tammy Barboza at 540-829-5754.
To apply to use the Pamper Me Pink Mammography Fund for a mammogram, call 540-829-4320. A financial counselor will provide a simple application and assist with the screening and scheduling process.