Carroll Hospital to hold annual Pink Fling, include Pink Couch for 'intimate' conversations

Carroll Hospital to hold annual Pink Fling, include Pink Couch for 'intimate' conversations
Joanne Mirosavich and Ann Clayton, both of Reisterstown, look at items in a silent auction during Sunday's Pink Fling Luncheon at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster Oct. 12, 2014. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

This month, Carroll Hospital will continue to support the Center for Breast Health and breast cancer patients from diagnosis to battle and beyond with its annual Pink Fling.

But this year, the event will have a new aspect — the Pink Couch — which according to the event website, will be an “intimate, informal and meaningful conversation” hosted by Dr. Dona Hobart, medical director of the Center for Breast Health, and Dr. Darlene Gabeau, medical director of radiation oncology at the William E. Kahlert Regional Cancer Center.


Heather Akers, the manager of special events and programs for the Carroll Hospital Foundation, said the hospital has been celebrating breast cancer survivors for years and Pink Fling has been going on for 13-plus years. For the last decade, it’s been used as a fundraiser for the Center for Breast Health and the Embrace Program, she added.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, is a brunch at Martin’s Westminster, and also includes a silent auction, Akers said.

“[Women] all come together, they love to shop,” she said.

But, Akers said, the guests’ favorite part of Pink Fling was always when survivors came and shared their stories.

“It’s very, very inspirational,” she said.

So this year, they will have survivors there, as well as a caregiver, to have a meaningful conversation on the Pink Couch, along with Hobart and Gabeau, “literally sitting on the couch,” she said.

While the education portion is important, over the years, some of the educational speeches have become a little dry. “You can only hear so much about breast cancer imaging,” Akers added.

Gabeau said the brunch is a time for survivors, family members and community members to get together, learn about treatments, hear from other survivors and encourage each other.

Gabeau said the caregiver perspective is especially interesting because it’s a “perspective we don’t highlight as much.”

“We’re really excited about that new format,” she said of the Pink Couch portion of the event.

Gabeau said there is so much that people go through when they have a cancer diagnosis.

“This is an opportunity to just celebrate getting through it all,” she added.

There are a few goals of the event, one of which is to inspire people to get their mammograms, Akers said, but to also let them know if they do have a diagnosis, that there is a whole community that can support them. The other goal is to raise funds for the Center for Breast Health.

“Those funds can help to purchase cutting edge surgical equipment [and] provide education to breast cancer survivors,” she added. The goal this year is to raise $65,000.


“Each year we have Pink Fling, the goals get bigger and bigger,” Gabeau said.

And as a provider of care, she said, it’s particularly special for her to be involved, because she gets to be a part of the celebrations and not just directing patients’ care.

“It’s very encouraging and invigorating for me as well,” Gabeau said.

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