Pink Power flexes its muscles

Breast care center fundraiser brings in nearly enough to purchase new 3D mammography equipment

By Craig Brown, Columbian metro editor



You can help:

To contribute toward 3D mammography equipment for the Kearney Breast Care Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, visit Southwest Washington Medical Center Foundation or call 360-514-3106.

Learn more about the Kearney Breast Care Center.

Pink ruled Sunday evening at a fundraiser for the Kearney Breast Care Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

The fourth annual Pink Power event included an evening of private shopping, food and drink, and prizes. And by the end of the evening, almost enough money had been raised to purchase an important new piece of mammography equipment.

The new 3D equipment costs $175,000, and the best guess was that Sunday’s fundraiser pushed the total effort so far within $4,000 of meeting that cost, said Tori Darnell of the sponsoring PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Foundation.

Approximately $140,000 was raised Sunday, well above the organizing committee’s goal of $100,000, Darnell said. If the rest of the money can be raised quickly, the equipment can be purchased earlier than planned.

“We want to bring 3D mammography here now and not wait,” Darnell said. “We are so close.”

The equipment will give doctors a better view of a woman’s breast tissue, helping both to diagnose cancer and reduce the instances of “false positives.” With current technology, some women who do not have cancer are told that they might have the disease, and are subjected to a period of worry and expensive tests before they are cleared.

Personal reports

Amid Sunday evening’s fun were some poignant moments, too. Breast cancer survivors, and one woman who had a false-positive cancer scare, described their odysseys.

Krista Colvin, a Camas woman who underwent successful treatment for the disease in 2010, told how she and the rest of her family, including two young children, had to put on their “big kid underwear” to deal with the frightening diagnosis. (More of her story is at Coping with Cancer.)

The invitation-only event was held at Westfield Vancouver mall, both in the mall proper and inside the Nordstrom department store, after both had closed for the day. The emcee was Mark Matthias, Beaches restaurateur and 2008 Clark County First Citizen.

As in past years, “Pink Tie Guys,” who contributed $1,000 each, roamed the crowd of 350 guests and volunteers, mostly women.

Previous venues for Pink Power have included the Hilton Vancouver Washington and Big Al’s Bowling Center. Moving the event and changing the activities keeps it fresh and interesting, Darnell explained.

Pink Power events have helped to raise more than $4 million for the Kearney center, which opened in 2009. The 12,000-square-foot center provides digital mammography, diagnostic ultrasound and other services, along with doctor-patient consultation rooms and conference space. It is named for Vancouver philanthropists Lee and Connie Kearney, who donated $2.5 million in May 2007 to start the fundraising. Connie Kearney was the first woman to serve as a Clark County commissioner, in the 1970s.