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Pink Party goes virtual for bus

By Gabriella Brown

The WVU Cancer Institute’s annual Pink Party is going virtual this year to benefit Bonnie’s Bus, West Virginia’s only mobile mammography unit.

The event is set for  7 p.m. Monday and will be conducted online via Zoom.

“I’m looking forward to participating in this year’s first-ever, virtual Pink Party with so many other friends and supporters of Bonnie’s Bus,” said Dr Clay Marsh, the state’s COVID-19 czar and vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Sciences. “Despite the pandemic, affordable access to timely screenings and mammograms are important for all women in West Virginia.”

Bonnie’s Bus travels across the state to provide breast cancer screenings in a comfortable and convenient environment throughout the year. Since 2009, the bus has provided more than 20,000 mammograms, with 110 women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“A variety of resources are required to keep a state-of-the-art mobile unit such as Bonnie’s Bus in operation,” said Dr. Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, WVU Cancer Institute interim director and associate professor of surgery at the WVU School of Medicine. “While most mammograms are funded through grants or insurance coverage, others are not.”

Services are provided to women whether they have private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, as well as those who may be underinsured or uninsured, but qualify for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

Through grant funding and donations, uninsured women in West Virginia 40 and older are also eligible for screening mammograms on the Bus.

Hazard-Jenkins said not only does Bonnie’s Bus provide accessible resources to women living in West Virginia, it also provides convenience by reducing the travel necessary to receive breast cancer screenings.

“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.”

Tickets to the fundraiser are $100 each, the same as in previous years, to maintain funding for the bus through the pandemic. Registrants will receive a Pink Party face mask, access to the event’s silent auction and will also be entered to win the grand prize of a new MacBook Air.

“We are excited about what we were able to create and we think it’s going to be a good time for all the viewers,” said Stephanie McCandless, program manager in the office of philanthropy at the WVU Cancer Institute.

McCandless said the organization  planned several activities to keep the event interactive and engaging, including moving the silent auction onto a virtual platform and plans to incorporate contests during the event.

“You might think of it like challenges where we might ask those who are watching with us, ‘who can find in their home the following item first and show it on screen?’,” McCandless said. “Whoever can provide that and win that challenge would be a prize winner.”

Attendees of the virtual event are also encouraged to dress in pink and even design their background to go with the theme.

Sponsorships are also available to support the event, and donations are welcome. With just a day to go, the event has already raised over $41,000.

Hazard-Jenkins said it is the support from the community that allows Bonnie’s Bus to continue providing essential women’s health services.

“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,” Hazard-Jenkins said. “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.”

For more information on the event, to purchase tickets or make a donation, visit

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