Pink illuminates breast cancer stories of hope and inspiration


Light it Up Pink
This Thursday, individuals touched by breast cancer, like the patient pictured here at the 2009 Pink—Lighting the Way to A Cure event, will light pink candles to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and care at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care.

The sight is breathtaking and the emotion palpable as hundreds of pink candles are lit, casting a radiant glow over the room. The candle-lighting ceremony, in which each candle represents a friend or loved one touched by breast cancer, is a highlight of UMass Medical School’s Pink–Lighting the Way to a Cure, held each October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year’s ceremony takes place on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Blais Pavilion in the Aaron Lazare Medical Research Building.

The candlelit spectacle is how UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care have localized and personalized efforts to generate awareness of breast cancer, and in the process, made it a signature fundraising event. “All the funds raised this way stay right here for the benefit of our patients,”explained Barbara Gilmartin, event manager in the UMass Medical School/UMass Memorial Development Office.

A $50 donation purchases one personalized votive, while $125 purchases three. Organizations as well as individuals can be recognized as “Pillars of the Community” with a personalized large pillar candle for a $1,000 donation, or a personalized medium pillar for a $500 donation. Gilmartin notes that corporate sponsors help make the event more beautiful and memorable with their donations of pink-themed decorations, staging and refreshments.

The candle lighting is followed by “The Way to a Cure” town meeting, in which a panel of four breast cancer survivors and their doctors offer information and hope. The panel also gives attendees an opportunity to hear from physicians about the potential of the research under way at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial, and the exciting advances in care for those affected by breast cancer—individuals like panel member and ardent event supporter Rebecca Soulliere. View the video to learn more about why Soulliere, Kurlan-Marcy and so many others are passionate about supporting breast cancer research and care at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial.

This year’s specific goal is to raise $400,000 to purchase an advanced CT scanner—one of only five in the world—that will improve diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer patients at UMass Memorial. “In concert with the community we serve, Pink—Lighting the Way to a Cure has evolved into a occasion that addresses the interests and needs of patients, donors and our institutions alike,” noted Gilmartin. “This is an upbeat event to celebrate the partnerships that are essential to our mutual goal of finding a cure.”

For information, visit, call 508-856-3665 or e-mail While preregistration is recommended, walk-ins are welcome. Free valet parking is available and refreshments will be served at a cocktail reception preceding the formal program.

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