Buffalo Grove residents ‘get their pink on’
Original Bagel and Bialy owner Karyn Gitler donated pink bagles for Sunday's Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser in Buffalo Grove. She shows off the pink bagels with her twin daughters, Ally and Lexi. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 26, 2012 12:32PM
BUFFALO GROVE — Sharon Arnowitz recalled countless people asking what they could do to help, but there was nothing.
Because, as the Buffalo Grove resident explained, she was not going to be a victim of breast cancer.
“I’m going to live,” said Arnowitz, noting that it was diagnosed in its earliest stage.
Arnowitz is now celebrating that determination.
“We just decided to totally go to the extreme — with pink,” she said.
On Sunday, Arnowitz served as hostess at her Buffalo Grove home for an all-pink party to promote breast cancer awareness. With a group of girlfriends, she sent out invitations to more than 100. They dressed in pink, ate pink foods, listened to music from pop singer P!nk, put pink extensions in their hair — and raised some green.
The “Get Your Pink On — Early Detection Celebration and Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser” brought in $2,346, which Arnowitz said she will donate to the Caldwell Breast Center. She said she earmarked the donation to pay for mammograms for women who otherwise could not afford them, because this was the exam that may have saved her life.
“I just went for a mammogram, and ... it was shocking,” Arnowitz recalled.
It was also early in the disease’s development when her doctor at Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge diagnosed her in September with DCIS, a nascent form of breast cancer that is easier to treat, but recurs frequently.
Arnowitz already has had the mass removed and will undergo radiation treatment.
“There was no lump, I wasn’t feeling sick,” and she credited simple prevention for keeping the danger from growing.
“A lot of women put them off and make excuses not to get them,” Arnowitz said. “Mammograms are one of those things you just have to be proactive about.”
To make them an option for women who do not have the means to pay for them, Arnowitz and her friends threw the Get Your Pink On party. Pink lemonade flowed into pink cups, strawberries dipped in pink chocolate rested on pink plates, and the hostess decorated her house pink in any way she could.
“We’re not painting,” she added. “Nothing permanent.”
Two of the event’s sponsors included Buffalo Grove’s Best Spa & Salon, which donated pink hair extensions, and Original Bagel & Bialy, which donated dozens of ribbon-shaped bagels baked with pink food coloring.
Lon Gitler, owner of the local Bagel & Bialy deli, said that once he heard the idea for the party, he was eager to get involved.
“Sharon’s a good friend of ours,” he said. “It was just an easy thing to do.”
And familiar work, too.
Gitler said he made similar donations to another breast cancer fundraiser in 2011.
Arnowitz said Get Your Pink on could become an annual event. The need to help women who cannot afford preventative care is not going away, she explained.
“I was so lucky to have early detection,” Arnowitz said.