Oh, it is wonderful to be with people, to see smiles on faces as our world opens up again. Events are beginning to happen once again, albeit in a slightly different mode. That was indeed true of the 19th annual Pink Ribbon Luncheon of the High Point Regional Foundation. The planning of the luncheon began during the height of the pandemic, so instead of hosting a “sea of pink” at the High Point Country Club it was decided to hold “ponds of pink.” So, what does that mean? Sponsors were invited to host their “families, friends in their home, office or a location of their choosing.” Their lunches were delivered to their location, and they were encouraged to watch the pre-recorded program featuring Kelly Corrigan.

Remember last year, the popular Pink Ribbon Luncheon, like almost everything else, was canceled, yet High Pointers showed their love and support through generous gifts to the Pink Ribbon Program. If you need to be reminded of importance of the Pink Ribbon Program and what it does, here is a brief rundown. In one word, it gives “hope.” That one word has more meaning to a newly diagnosed cancer patient than any other. To itemize a bit more, the program supports both men and women newly diagnosed with cancer. In addition to the Pink Ribbon Comfort Bags, the proceeds from Pink Ribbon Fund provide funding for CancerFitt, a 12-week fitness program and support group to help fight fatigue during treatment, education support for the Hayworth Cancer Center staff and patients, free mammograms, DNA genetic screening and more. Lastly but not least, it offers compassionate care throughout the patient’s journey with cancer.

Once again, the co-chairs of the Pink Ribbon Luncheon were Emilee Brigman and my friend Bert Wood (great to see you a few weeks ago at HPU graduation looking fantastic). This year the foundation recognized Bert and her contribution. She brought the Pink Ribbon Luncheon to High Point Medical Center 19 years ago. She followed in the footsteps of her dear friend Alyson Barnard, who created a similar event in Wilmington following a battle with breast cancer. In 2002 Bert approached the hospital with the idea, and the rest is history! The first year, Bert called on all the women she could think of and secured 30 of her friends to serve as hostesses. Those ladies invited their own guests for a fun-filled day surrounded by friends and loved ones. Since that time the Pink Ribbon Luncheon, normally held at the High Point Country Club with an unofficial contest among host for best pink creative centerpieces, has become one of High Point’s premier events. Thank you, Bert Wood!

The Pink Ribbon committee included Beachy Allen, Sheila Cochrane, Heather Fielden, Lynn Foscue, Sarah Kemm, Kay Miller (you can relax now, Kay), Congdon Smith, Elizabeth Speight, Donna Tucker and Carol Young (who’s enjoying retirement). Major sponsors of the Pink Ribbon included the Guardian Angel: The McMichael Family Foundation. The Gold Angel was Smart Choice. The Healing Angels were: Candy and Bill Fenn; Kay Miller, Royale Wiggin and Dot Coggin; Pennybyrn and Ralph Lauren. There were also numerous Pink Angel and Angel sponsors.

I was among the Smart Choice group who dined around the glorious pool (we all wanted to jump in) at the beautiful home of Doug Witcher. Carol King, her daughter Hayley and Sarah Oakley served as our hostesses as we began with a mimosa (should I have told that?). They were delicious. At their own expense (allowing for higher proceeds to the Pink Ribbon Fund), Smart Choice opted for a catered meal by Alexandria’s, and it was fabulous, including the Italian wedding soup, green salad topped with a crab cake and an out-of-this world dessert! There were three tables of eight, beautifully decorated. It was fabulous, with wonderful conversation for a wonderful cause. It was a great to have foundation director Leigh Ann Venerable (she is so pretty) come visit with us.

A couple of the hostesses including the foundation chose Truist Stadium to hold their luncheons. Co-chair Emiliee Brigman told me she invited 20 guests to her luncheon, “all friends who regularly attend the event with me! We really ‘played’ up the baseball theme this year, complete with the baseball T-shirts (pink with their name and number), ballpark fare (sliders, mini hot dogs, hot chips) and pink stadium cups. Pink flower arrangements scattered with pieces of pink bubblegum were placed on the tables! I also served a signature cocktail, pink lemonade punch, garnished with raspberries and lemons.”

She also added, “The pink fire truck, ‘Debbie,’ surprised us with a special appearance. What a presence! The staff at the Rockers did a fabulous job hosting us! It was so fun having the girls for lunch looking out over the baseball field! I was so grateful that the development office came up with an alternate plan to have the luncheon this year. I was fortunate enough to be able to do it at Truist Stadium. It was so much fun and enjoyed by all. I believe Pink Ribbon Luncheon was missed by many last year so any opportunity to come together for this great cause was welcomed!”

Others hosted the luncheon in their homes, such as Debbie Irvin and Libby Creek, who hosted Betty and Kitsy’s Buddies. Then there was Linda Myers and even Cumby’s Funeral Home. Donna Blakely told me, “Knowing that we are able to help provide a small level of comfort, hope and support to newly diagnosed cancer patients as they begin their journey warms our hearts. Our entire team at Blakely Financial are honored to be a part of the Pink Ribbon and look forward to next year.”

Emilee Brigman: “While this year’s luncheon had a different feel, I am so looking forward to coming together next May for our 20th year! We have so much to celebrate! All in all, it was a successful and beautiful day!”

Yes, it was!