Pink Party Fundraiser
By Candace Feely
Photos: Christy Canafax
“I believe in pink… I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” ~Audrey Hepburn
At 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Martha Haley was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. In an instant, her world turned upside down, and as a pregnant woman, her fears and concerns reached far beyond her own health. Within five days of diagnosis, she began the first of two chemotherapy treatments during her pregnancy.
It was a difficult and overwhelming time for Haley and her family. “There’s the fear of what’s going to happen to me, but then on top of that, what’s going to happen to the baby? How is this going to affect him?” Haley says.
Thankfully, the Haley family welcomed a baby boy in July 2012, just eight weeks after Haley’s cancer diagnosis. Two years later, Haley is cancer-free and her toddler is perfectly healthy.
But cancer-free didn’t happen overnight. In fact, only a week after her son’s birth, Haley was continuing her chemotherapy. In September 2012, during the second set of treatment, steroids made sleep impossible. Although most nights she passed the time playing games or browsing online, one night was different. An idea came to her, and she decided she wanted to help other women through a fundraiser. Grateful for the quick diagnosis and treatment she was able to receive, Haley wanted to ensure that other women had the same opportunity.
I really wanted to do something that would impact women,” Haley says, “and I wanted to do something that would impact women that I know, local women, something that would make a difference for a mom or a school friend or people who I might actually see in the grocery store.”
A flier for the Lost Girls’ Breast Cancer Ride provided her answer. The Lost Girls’ Fund benefits uninsured and underinsured women, helping them get mammograms, biopsies and MRIs as part of diagnostic care. This annual ride, celebrating its tenth year on October 5, has raised $85,000 over the last nine years, according to the president of the Lost Girls Motorcycle Club.
Haley decided to pour her efforts into supporting the Lost Girls’ Fund.
“If we can take away one of the excuses a woman has – she’s afraid, it costs too much and it’s going to hurt – if we can take away the cost factor, more women will get diagnosed at earlier stages, meaning more women get to stay with their families,” Haley says.
Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Haley wanted her fundraiser to occur in “Pinktober.” With the help of family and friends, she planned her first PinkParty in only three weeks and raised $4,220, all while undergoing chemotherapy and caring for a two-month old infant and four other children. “It was crazy,” Haley says.
Haley has proven to be a fighter, not only for herself but also for others. Even in the midst of her own pain and uncertainty, she was determined to help women in her community.
This October will be the third PinkParty to benefit the Lost Girls’ Fund, and Haley hopes it will be the best yet. A dinner, secret silent auction and raffle will make the evening as fun as it is pink. Many local businesses have donated items and gift certificates, including handcrafted pieces, gourmet foods, home décor, beauty products, jewelry, accessories, children’s books and more.
“It’s really about support,” Haley says. “It’s about coming together.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, according to the American Cancer Association. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The PinkParty and fundraisers like it help women get earlier detection, a key component to survival.
“The goal is always that you’re going to be around to see your grandkids. Let’s get you diagnosed now, so in 30 years, you hold your grandchild in the hospital,” says Haley.
PinkParty • 6 pm October 16 • (559) 786-7694
Haley Homestead Gathering Place • 31468 Road 180, Visalia