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In the United States, one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. This comes out to around 250,000 cases per year. After a family history of the disease, including her own diagnosis, RueAnn Gallagher wanted to help others through their journeys.

In 2013, Pink It Forward was born. RueAnn, along her mother, sister, and cousin, started making care packages to deliver to breast cancer patients, free of charge.

“We’ve grown from dropping off white paper bags filled with water bottles, hand sanitizer, and candy, to offering 4 care packages filled with quality products that target helping with side effects of certain treatments an individual may go through after being diagnosed,” explained Kayla Leier, RueAnn’s cousin.  “The packages – Determination, Pajama, Relax, and Treatment – were all created with the breast cancer patient in mind. Our packages are great options because 3 of our members have been through the treatments.”

Pink It Forward’s mission is to provide hope and empowerment by enriching the lives of all those affected by breast cancer. Anybody can contact them to request a care package, either for themselves or a loved one. Since its inception, the organization has sent over 560 packages to 20 different states and to Canada.

As a nonprofit, Pink It Forward relies on community donations in order to provide supplies for their care packages. There are several ways people can get involved to raise funds and awareness.

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“In Bismarck and Fargo, we host our annual Wine and Tie events,” says Leier. “We ask that individuals grab a friend (or many!), and bring 2 and a half yards of solid fleece fabric and 2 and a half yards of breast cancer-themed fabric to make handmade fleece tie blankets while enjoying a glass of wine (or two!).  These are part of our Determination Package and are incredibly powerful in reminding the recipient that they are not alone; that someone put the blanket together thinking about their battle ahead and rooting for them along the way.  Upon completion, the blankets are donated to Pink It Forward.

“We also host ‘Get Pumped In Pink’ a campaign to promote the importance of staying active and being healthy to reduce risks of developing breast cancer.  The campaign includes shirts for men and women and protein shakers for purchase online through our website – www.pinkitforward.org/shop – or in 3 Fargo locations at business that sponsor the campaign.”

On November 6th, Pink It Forward will be hosting the 3rd Annual Pink It Forward Women’s Day Out at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Fargo, so be sure to mark your calendars. The event includes, vendors, entertainment, and a silent auction.

Kayla Leier adds that without the help of the community, Pink It Forward would not be able to continue their important work.

“The support is really priceless and we cannot thank our current supporters enough. They really are what has allowed Pink It Forward to grow to where we are today, and with their continued support what will allow us to be here until a cure is found.”

 

By Rachelle Gordon