On April 5, I received an email from a Dunlap woman named Tricia Roberts.
Tricia, founder and CEO of Check the Girls.™, is organizing a PINK OUT Day during this year’s RAGBRAI® event. PINK OUT will occur on Monday, July 22, with the permission of RAGBRAI organizers. It is important to note, and Tricia makes this very clear in her email about PINK OUT, that "there is no direct or implied affiliation with or sponsorship of this PINK OUT Day by RAGBRAI, its organizers or its constituents."
But the plans for PINK OUT caught my attention. Maybe because my mother is a breast cancer survivor. Maybe because I lost an aunt I never really got to know to breast cancer.
I was intrigued to read Tricia’s own story as a breast cancer "previvor." Previvor, a relatively new term, has been coined to describe a person who does not have cancer, but who has precancerous cells or a genetic mutation known to increase the risk of developing cancer: a pre-survivor.
Tricia, whose risk for developing breast cancer was 65 percent, chose, in her late 30s, to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, a surgery to remove the breast tissue from both breasts in an effort to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women. The surgery took her risk of developing the disease down to 1-2 percent.
Her company, Check the Girls, was founded with two missions: 1) To help educate younger women, beginning with high school and college-aged girls, about the importance of being proactive with their breast health and their health in general, and what that means to them at their age; and 2) To raise money for uninsured women to get free mammograms or breast ultrasound screenings.
Tricia has raised funds through the sale of Check the Girls-branded items, and she has been involved in several PINK OUT sporting events around her hometown of Dunlap, which is a small town located in Harrison County, in far west Iowa.
During the RAGBRAI PINK OUT Day, 50 percent of the retail proceeds from her company’s T-shirt sales will help uninusured Iowa women to get free mammograms or breast ultrasound screenings.
"It’s my hope that word will spread quickly about this PINK OUT Day and that this first year, we’ll get at least 500-750 people to participate," she said. "To me, RAGBRAI seemed like the perfect opportunity to spread this important message across the great state of Iowa and to raise money for this cause as well. And hopefully, we’ll get more and more participants each year, so we can continue to help more Iowa women."
Supporting Tricia’s efforts are simple. Special "Sweat Pink" T-shirts will be made for the designated ride day - July 22. The T-shirts can be worn during the ride or later in the day when the ride is completed. Shirts can be pre-ordered on her website: www.checkthegirls.com by clicking on "Wear and Share." They are $10 each, plus tax and shipping. The deadline to purchase a shirt in time for RAGBRAI is June 15. For those riding in teams, or groups who want to order 10 or more shirts, shipping will be free if they are all shipped to the same address.
Even if you’re not riding RAGBRAI this year - here’s a thought - buy a T-shirt and support Tricia’s cause on July 22 by wearing it, where ever you are!
(Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times.)