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Fundraiser kicks off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Though fall may be full of orange leaves and pumpkins, one organization is offering one last chance to be “tickled pink.”

Sunday, O'Bleness Health Services will present its annual “Pink Tea Luncheon,” a fundraiser for the O'Bleness Women's Health Fund.

The event, which is in its fifth year, started after a major hospital campaign formed the Community Relations Committee, which started the fundraiser. The fund provides financial support for diagnostic mammograms for women with no insurance or financial resources to pay for the screening.

When the fundraiser was created, it was a simple tea and fashion show and a chance for women to get together, but each year, the tea takes on a new theme.

One new aspect of the tea is the date, said Pat Vogt, gift shop manager at O'Bleness. To help kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the event was moved from May to September.

In past years, the tea has featured different speakers and entertainers, but keeping with this year’s theme of “tickled pink,” comedian Mark Klein will perform at the event. Klein, who was chosen because of his family-friendly set-list, said he looks forward to performing.

“When I first started comedy, I wanted to make people laugh at bars and flirt with pretty girls, which is what I was going to do anyway,” Klein said. “Now in my 50s, I really get enjoyment out of other people’s enjoyment.”

In addition to the lunch and laughs, tea-goers can browse the “pink market,” which features 11 different vendors selling a variety of items, said Linda Weiss, public relations manager for O’Bleness.

“We wanted to have a variety of products, so we have people selling makeup, jewelry baskets, nutritional supplements, art and more,” she said. “We tried to stick with unique, local companies.”

One aspect of the tea that will be returning this year is the “Women of Inspiration” award. Women are nominated by those who feel they are extraordinary and a panel of judges then selects winners.

Overall, Weiss said that she hopes attendees view the event as an enjoyable charity fundraiser.

“It's a fun way for people to help the hospital and in turn it’s going to benefit many women in our community,” she said.

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