The Sisterhood of Survivors annual Girls’ Night Out fundraiser promises survivors of breast cancer a night full of fun, friends and prizes.
The fundraiser is a way for the members of Sisterhood of Survivors to reach out to more members of the community who have been affected by breast cancer. The event is free to attend, but raffle tickets will be sold.
“It’s a fun way to get women together,” said Julie Skiba, a board member of the organization.
For the past several years, the event has continuously outgrown the venues at which it has been hosted. This year, it will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Liberty Ballroom of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, 808 4th St. The group expects as many as 1,500 people to be in attendance and have space for more.
Those who attend are mostly women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their life. But there are also many in attendance who are friends or family members of someone who was diagnosed, as well as corporate sponsors who help to fund the event and the organization.
The event will host vendors who will be selling everything from clothing to accessories to bath products. Chances are, if it is something a woman would like, there will be a vendor selling it at the event. There will also be a silent auction and a raffle, and many vendors will have door prizes for those in attendance to have a chance at winning. Jody Jo Mize, one of the popular voices on 93.7 KISS Country — and a breast cancer survivor herself — will be the emcee for the evening.
Skiba holds this event and the Sisterhood close to her heart. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, and again in 2004. For her, the experience is something she does not have trouble talking about. She uses it as a common ground with other women, like Mary Ann Rogozinski, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.
Rogozinski found Sisterhood of Survivors through a friend a year later, and started to attend the monthly lunch the organization hosted. Initially, that was all she did, until a friend’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and Rogozinski delivered one of the organization’s care tote bags to her. From then on, she became much more involved.
“All women are different, but there is a connection you feel with someone who is newly diagnosed,” Rogozinski said. “They need comfort. To know they’re not the only one. It’s very rewarding, knowing you can make a difference. Words can’t explain it.”
Rogozinski has only missed two fundraisers since the events began, and she says her favorite part is seeing newly diagnosed patients connecting with survivors and realizing that they are not alone in their battle: there are others out there who are willing to help and support them. She also enjoys seeing people who have not seen each other in a long time meet up at the event, as well as getting to meet new people herself. She describes the event as having a “sense of comaraderie.”
Rogozinski volunteers with Sisterhood of Survivors now, delivering the care totes to women and spending time with them. She says it is difficult sometimes because it is emotional for her to do so, but she cannot imagine not doing it.
“To be able to tell newly diagnosed women that there’s someone else out there — that’s what we’re there for,” Rogozinski said.
Sisterhood of Survivors was founded in 2003 and incorporated in 2010. Since the organization was founded, they have hosted a fundraiser almost every year. Their mission is to “assist newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and their families and offer ongoing support to those affected by breast cancer through peer support and educational resources.”
For more information about the event, visit the Sisterhood of Survivors website at www.sisterhoodofsurvivors.org or call 439-2183.
What: Girls’ Night Out
When: 4-8 p.m., Thursday, May 4
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial District Liberty Ballroom, 808 4th St., Clovis
How much: Free. Raffle tickets will be sold and a silent auction will be held.
Sisterhood of Survivors holds monthly luncheons at noon on the third Saturday of every month at Denny’s, 710 W. Shaw, corner of Willow Avenue in Clovis. Anyone affected by breast cancer, including newly diagnosed women, survivors or friends and family members, is invited. Details: (559) 298-8706.