The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and here in Lake Charles, an annual pageant called the Queen of Pink is held to raise funds for those with breast cancer to assist with their medical expenses.
The Queen of Pink Organization is a non-profit organization that gives financial assistance to residents of Calcasieu, Beauregard, Cameron, Jeff Davis, and Allen Parish who have breast cancer. Once a month a one-time gift of $500 is given to each recipient. The aid is to cover the patient’s treatment and other breast cancer-related expenses.
“We give a $500 donation to one recipient per month. They are given in the order that we receive the applications. Depending on donations we sometimes do up to three per month,” said Joyce Bennett, director of the organization.
In 2006 after having breast cancer, Carol Ware saw the need to help others in southwest Louisiana (SWLA) with expenses related to breast cancer. Her and Arline Long, also a breast cancer survivor, began the Queen of Pink pageant and had the 1st Annual Think Pink Festival in Moss Bluff. It was later moved to Ragley and held at the South Beauregard High School and instead of the festival, a walk was held to raise donations.
The pageant is now held every 2nd Saturday of June at the Water’s Edge Church in Lake Charles. The Queen of Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is held the 1st Saturday of October at the Purple Heart Memorial Park in Ragley.
Bennett has been involved since 2010 when her daughter, Victoria Bennett Carrier, was crowned the 2010 Miss Queen of Pink. In 2011, Bennet herself was crowned Ambassador of Pink for her dedication to promoting the organization. In 2012, she was asked to become the pageant director and in 2016 she became the director of the organization.
Ladies of all ages come together to raise money and compete in the pageant for the chance to represent the organization for the year as a Queen of Pink queen. An Ambassador of Pink title is awarded to the contestant with the most donations. In addition, Princess of Pink titles are awarded to contestants with donations of $250.00 and above.
Once a year the South Beauregard Schools also hold a Think Pink walk during the school year. Students make donations and get a t-shirt and walk during their P.E. hour. The homeroom class that raises the most donations wins a pizza party from the Queen of Pink Organization. The high school students make a donation, get a t-shirt that they choose from a design contest, and get a free day that is spent at the track walking and playing games.
“Every year they raise thousands of dollars for us,” stated Bennett, “We host bake sales and booths at festivals to spread the word about our organization. Since the organization began in 2006 we have helped 132 breast cancer patients in SWLA.”
The Queen of Pink will be hosting its 10th Annual walk on October 7 and you can get forms or register online for the walk at www.queenofpink.org. Even if you cannot attend the walk you can still register and receive a t-shirt by making a $20 donation and with a $2.50 shipping fee, the organization can mail your t-shirt to you. The Queen of Pink accepts donations at any time and they can be mailed to Queen of Pink, PO Box 409, Iowa LA 70647.