By Kim Lux
October is almost here and soon North East will be decked out in pink — thanks to Pattie Stempka and Pattie’s Pink Warriors.
Since 2008, Stempka has been working passionately to raise money for the American Cancer Society for research to find, prevent and treat breast cancer.
It’s a cause that hits close to home for Stempka.
“I was diagnosed in June of 2006 and I started turning the town pink in 2008,” she said. “I’m a 13-year survivor and have been doing this for a long time.
“I’m on a mission,” Stempka added. “I’m trying to help find a cure for breast cancer. My mission in life is to help women during their journeys and help find a cure, so that one day our grandkids never have to hear the words ‘you have breast cancer.”
Not only does the money raised by Pattie’s Pink Warriors go to breast cancer research, it also helps fund free rides to chemo, free places to stay near treatment facilities and a live 24/7 hotline for those fighting.
“It’s really a pay it forward thing for me,” Stempka said. “The American Cancer Society helped me through my journey and this is why I continue to raise money for them.”
A month full of activities and fundraisers will kick off with the annual Light Up Night held on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. in Gibson Park. All are invited to attend and watch the lights and fountains in Gibson Park turn pink. Breast cancer survivors will be recognized.
“Light Up Night is our grand entrance into October,” Stempka said. “North East really looks beautiful in pink.”
Throughout October, pink bows will be on sale at the Flower Cart, 11 E. Main St., for $3.
Pink lightbulbs and Pattie’s Pink Warriors’ 2019 long-sleeved limited-edition T-shirts will be on sale at Beauty by Belson, Bella Salon, Hair Doo’s by Julie Davis, The Flower Cart, Main Studio and Super Stitch. This year’s T-shirts are neon green and feature a rendering of Gibson Park.
The businesses will also be selling raffle tickets for $100 worth of lottery tickets and donated items. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.
A Pink Bargello Ribbon quilt is also being raffled off. The quilt, which measures 53.5-inches-by-90-inches, is currently on display at Super Stitch, 10429 W. Main St. Those tickets cost $5 each. The quilt was made by Kay Eisaman and quilted by Darlene Orschek.
All proceeds benefit Pattie’s Pink Warriors.
“The involvement of the community is so wonderful,” Stempka said. “To me, anyone who buys a pink bow or makes a donation — they are the warriors. They’re the ones helping me raise this money.”
Pattie’s Pink Warriors’ 2019 campaign will also feature a new event — a celebrity bartender night at Skunk & Goat Tavern on Oct. 29 from 5 to 9 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to the celebrity bartending event, it’ll be something new for us,” she said. “More details will be published in the News-Journal as we get closer to the event.”
After spearheading Pattie’s Pink Warriors for 11 years, Stempka said it’s knowing she’s making a difference in people’s lives that keeps her going.
“I keep hearing about more and more people being diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said. “And they are getting younger. It shouldn’t be this way. The medicines and the treatments are so different from when I was first diagnosed, so I know the money we raise is going to a great cause.”
Last year, PPW raised a record-breaking $27,630 and since its inception has raised over $176,000. Stempka’s fundraising had her ranked 16th nationally with the American Cancer Society in 2018.
Stempka added the support of the North East community also keeps her motivated.
“This is a community effort,” she said. “There are so many organizations and businesses that hold fundraisers for me and help raise awareness.
“What I truly enjoy is driving through town and seeing all of the pink bows, the pink spotlights on the foundation and all of the pink ribbons everywhere,” Stempka added. “That’s the beauty of October.”
Those who wish to hold a fundraiser for Pattie’s Pink Warriors, or anyone looking for more information, should contact Stempka at 814-392-2683 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.