Pink in Paradise – Colorful crowd unites to fight cancer

Commissioner Laura Moss and Michelle Moss. PHOTO BY JOSHUA KODIS

Adorned in shades of pink from fuchsia to magenta and salmon to flamingo, cancer warriors, survivors, caregivers, family and friends filled the Intergenerational Center for the second annual Pink in Paradise gala hosted by Friends After Diagnosis and the Reynolds Team of Compass Realty, the premier sponsor.

Event chair Michelle Moss created the sanguine affair to celebrate her survival while helping others by raising awareness about the need to support women struggling with all forms of cancer.

“Friends After Diagnosis has been in Indian River County for 14 years. We support women with all cancers. We have women with Multiple Myeloma, throat, lung and brain cancer, among others,” said Carolyn Thornton Nelson, executive director of the nonprofit founded to battle cancer locally.

“The gala is a celebration of life. A lot of people were there celebrating life, whether they were current cancer patients, survivors, relatives or friends of women who had had cancer,” said Nelson of the nearly 300 gala attendees who danced the night away.

The organization – which notes on its website: “Supporting women with cancer is about more than medicine” – works to enhance the lives of women diagnosed with cancer through support groups, wellness programs, and direct and personal services.

Their direct and personal service programs include breast prostheses, mastectomy bras and wigs; concierge services that range from shopping to companion visits; chemo kits that contain items cancer patients might find helpful during their treatments; and financial services provide travel assistance.

Friends’ wellness programs were designed to foster connections with other survivors while encouraging healthy activities to help them heal. These programs are made possible through partnerships with other organizations, including Ride Beyond Diagnosis, an equine-assisted therapeutic program with Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast; Friends in Motion with Good Life Fitness, for those who enjoy dance; Row Beyond Diagnosis, a crew rowing program with Vero Beach Rowing; Aquatic Friends for water exercising, in partnership with the City of Vero Beach; and Artsy Friends, in partnership with Healing Arts, Arts in Medicine.

“We get calls and emails every day from people saying their care is so expensive. Some even have to choose between care and groceries. All of our services are still at no cost to the participants. We try to maximize our relationships and partnerships in the community to get folks groceries and assistance with utility bills and transportation to cancer centers outside our immediate area,” added Nelson.

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Photos by Joshua Kodis

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