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WVU Cancer Institute’s first virtual Pink Party raises $55K

Bonnie's Bus

Bonnie’s Bus has administered more than 22,000 mammograms to West Virginia women since 2009, detecting more than 110 cases of breast cancer and counting. 

The WVU Cancer Institute’s first-ever virtual Pink Party raised $55,535 to benefit Bonnie’s Bus, a mobile mammography unit that travels throughout West Virginia to offer breast cancer screening.

The annual Pink Party was held virtually Monday, Sept. 14, to ensure the health and safety of participants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters of the WVU Cancer Institute and friends had the opportunity to remotely support Bonnie’s Bus, while enjoying an interactive experience featuring an auction, prizes, contests and presentations. Billy Pulice, a member of the Cancer Institute’s Leadership Council for seven years, served as emcee.

More than 100 people from Delaware to Texas participated in this year’s Pink Party – including founding Bonnie’s Bus donors Ben and Jo Statler, who served as title sponsors for the event. Co-title sponsors Kenneth and Jennifer Mason donated the registration fee for 35 Cancer Institute nurses to attend the event.

“We rely on the generosity of supporters to fund critical and practical needs related to this essential service provided by WVU Cancer Institute to the state of West Virginia; it is truly thanks to our donors that Bonnie’s Bus is able to continue making such a measurable impact on the health of women in West Virginia,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, MD, FACS, interim director of the WVU Cancer Institute and associate professor of surgery at the WVU School of Medicine, said.

Bonnie’s Bus has administered more than 22,000 mammograms to West Virginia women since 2009, detecting more than 110 cases of breast cancer and counting. Most of these women live in rural areas of West Virginia where access to mammography screening is limited.

"This year has been full of challenges due to COVID-19, but cancer is selfish and doesn't take a break. This means that the need for funding to provide mammograms to under- and uninsured women doesn't take a break either,” Jenny R. Ostien, director of mobile screening, said. “I am beyond grateful to those who attended the virtual Pink Party and our other supporters for remembering us in this time of competing priorities. Their support is what keeps Bonnie's Bus rolling down the roads in West Virginia.”

Bonnie’s Bus was created in honor of Bonnie Wells Wilson, Jo Statler’s mother. Wilson lived in rural West Virginia and did not have access to mammography screening. She died from breast cancer in 1992.

“Bonnie’s Bus is more than just a place to get mammograms – it represents access to mammography that would otherwise be burdensome for women,” Hazard-Jenkins said. “Whether that burden is the cost of the mammogram or the cost of travel to and from a mammogram, Bonnie’s Bus mitigates those financial stressors for so many women.”

To donate to Bonnie’s Bus, contact Cory Chambers, director of annual giving for the WVU Cancer Institute, at Donations are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donation on behalf of the University.

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