By Eraina Hooyer
Cowboys showed off their pink colours at the Ponoka Stampede on June 29 for the third annual Wranglers Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day for breast cancer awareness.
The colour pink also flowed throughout the stands as spectators displayed their encouragement with pink ribbons, shirts and cowboy hats showing a whole arena of support.
Booths were set up at the grounds to provide information, more awareness and sold items such as bracelets and bandanas.
Nurses from the breast health project were available to talk with and provided education and the importance of early detection and breast health.
Samantha Major manned one of the booths at the stampede and believes that getting the information out about breast cancer is essential. Major was glad to see the spectators and cowboys showing their support and thinks that it is important to increase breast cancer awareness in Alberta.
“One in nine women in Canada will be affected by breast cancer,” said Major. “It’s only one in eight in Alberta, we have one of the highest rates in Canada and the stampede is a great way to get that information out there. It’s very important to increase the awareness because early detection could be the difference between life and death.”
Joanne Comeau, executive director of Family Community Support Services was also at the booth and was pleased with the support she saw at the stampede.
“It’s great to see so many pink shirts, there’s a lot of pink around here today,” said Comeau. “It’s nice to see the cowboys wear pink and if they wear pink then anyone will wear pink.”
An angel quilt that was donated by a group in Olds was also on display at one of the booths. The quilt has an angel pattern that people have signed in memory of loved ones who have lost their battle with breast cancer.
During the Stampede a 50/50 draw was taken for both performances by the Cadet Club and they donated their share to the cause. The Stampede also donated a share of their 50/50 draw.
Proceeds will be given to the FCSS program to help local breast cancer victims and their families.
Ken Rehill and Keith Marrington from the Calgary Stampede were tough enough to wear pink and proudly wore their pink shirts.
“It’s for a great cause,” said Rehill. “It’s nice to see everyone getting behind it and it all goes to a good cause.”
Marrington also encouraged breast cancer awareness and was pleased with the many people wearing pink colours.
“It’s to show our support,” said Marrington. “I’m very proud to wear this shirt.”
Breast Cancer Facts
According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and one in nine women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
The good news is that breast cancer mortality rates have descended by 25 per cent since 1986 and breast cancer rates have lessened since 1999 and the five year relative survival rate is 86 per cent.
Living a healthy lifestyle and continued checking are the best defenses against breast cancer. The CBCF suggest performing a self-exam every month for women 20 years old or older and to go for a mammogram when age and risk appropriate.
They also suggest scheduling a yearly physical that includes a clinical breast exam and knowing your body so that any changes that occur will be detected.