28th Pink Ribbon Tea Luncheon Set for Oct. 17

CANFIELD, Ohio — For nearly three decades, the Junior League of the Mahoning Valley has hosted the Pink Ribbon Tea Luncheon to celebrate local breast cancer survivors.

The 28th annual Pink Ribbon Tea Luncheon is set for Monday, Oct. 17 at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield. The Junior League of the Mahoning Valley hosts the tea every October to provide women with important resources and support and give survivors somewhere to celebrate their journeys. There is no cost for survivors to attend; tickets are $40 each.

Susan Berny and Janice Fagert of the Junior League are this year’s co-chairwomen.
“This is a day of celebration for breast cancer survivors. That’s been really the purpose since its inception: to really give them a day of strength and build their journey,” Berny says.

This year’s speaker is Jill McFarland, a survivor of breast cancer, a mother of three and an advocate for cancer research, especially cancer disparities, easier access to cancer care and affordability.

McFarland’s breast cancer journey began in March 2015 when she was diagnosed with Stage III invasive ductal carcinoma after finding a lump under her arm. She was then 36 years old and rearing three young daughters aged 7, 5, 10 months, with her husband.

In February 2020, she discovered that her breast cancer had spread to her thoracic and cervical spine, pelvis, ribs, femur and skull and was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

McFarland collaborates with the American Cancer Society Action Network and METAvivor, a nonprofit dedicated to the specific fight of stage IV metastatic breast cancer. McFarland lobbies for medications to be approved to treat breast cancer and raises money so that more can be done with drug therapy.

“She helps to send a visible message to Congress that they need to make fighting cancer a legislative priority. She also addresses cancer disparities and helping women that are in need of treatment,” Berny says. “She’s young and she’s very dynamic. We’re very excited to have her as our speaker.”

This year’s memorial chairwoman is former Junior League President Heather Elder, who died of breast cancer in 2020. Elder served as president in 2016. Elder’s husband and family will attend the tea in her honor.

Berny looks forward to the annual Survivor Ceremony, she says, a ritual at its conclusion recognizes the “years of strength” breast cancer survivors have achieved. “It’s really powerful and people get a lot of strength from it,” Berny says.

Gina Marinelli, senior gift officer of the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, will be emcee of the tea. Vendors will be on site to provide information about local breast cancer services.

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