Michelle’s Story

Twelve years ago, Pam Dowie was grieving the death of her beautiful daughter Michelle, who died much too soon, from breast cancer at the young age of 33. Ten years ago, Pam, her daughter DeeDee and a small committee of women put that grief into action and decided to put together a run/walk event to honor women with breast cancer.

PRR 2014_19

Michelle’s legacy continues through her sisters and nieces.



“When Michelle was battling cancer, friends, neighbors and family members stepped up and paid her children’s day care, brought meals to her home, took her to chemo and visited her often. After one day of sitting in chemo with another young mother who had to go back to work that day because she needed the money, Michelle commented how lucky she was because she had good insurance, and an understanding employer. She felt bad for women who had to deal with all the problems that cancer throws at you. It was her wish to do something about these issues.  So that is why my daughter DeeDee Weber and I are involved and are so very committed to help see that the wonderful work of the Beyond Pink TEAM continues and flourishes!”

 

There was one stipulation, made by the committee when giving the money for the first time to the Beyond Pink TEAM. The committee, Pam especially, wanted to make sure that at least some of the money would go toward having events for young women with breast cancer.

Pam (left) poses with Angela Hamilton. Who spoke in 2012 at the Pink Ribbon Run about what Young Cancer Survivors means to her. YCS is a group that was created in honor of Michelle's wish that there be more services for young women.

Pam (left) poses with Angela Hamilton. Who spoke in 2012 at the Pink Ribbon Run about what Young Cancer Survivors means to her. YCS is a group that was created in honor of Michelle’s wish that there be more services for young women.

“When my daughter Michelle was diagnosed at 29 there were not many resources available to her. There was not the awareness that breast cancer was a disease that affected young women. There was not a support group that helped her with the issues she was dealing with as a young wife and mother,” reflects Pam.

 

The Pink Ribbon Run is now celebrating its 10th year. 10 years of raising funds. 10 years of helping families navigate a cancer diagnosis. 10 years of offering hugs, support and advocacy. In that ten years, Michelle’s memory has always been honored by “Team Tink.” Tink was Michelle’s nickname, and it became the name of the team who has walked the Avon walk in Chicago and had wonderful representation each year at the Pink Ribbon Run.

 

How would Michelle feel about the success of the Pink Ribbon Run? “She would be so very, very proud of the success of the Pink Ribbon Run. The awareness it brings, the support for survivors,  and the huge community of women involved,” Pam said.  “All the work and the services that the Beyond Pink TEAM organization provides- so much of what she saw as needs have been addressed because of the money raised.

The fact that the Run is approaching 10 years is amazing…I hoped for maybe 5 years!  Every year it grows and becomes an integral part of October. I really don’t see it stopping until we have a CURE!”

TEAM TINK in 2014

TEAM TINK in 2014

When you sign up this year for the 10th Annual Pink Ribbon Run, think of Michelle. Find a member of TEAM TINK and give them a high five or a hug. It is through their loss, that the Beyond Pink TEAM is able to give back so much.

The 10th Annual Pink Ribbon Run is presented by Oakridge Realtors and University of Iowa Community Credit Union. The Survivor Sponsor is Community Auto Group. All breast cancer survivors receive free registration, thanks to the Survivor Sponsor.

 

Posted in Events, Young Cancer Survivors