When Michele Wilcha-Zini died after a battle with breast cancer, a group of women got together to continue her legacy of kindness and support.
There were three requirements for this event: the party was for women only, funds raised had to benefit area residents with cancer and their families, and everyone must wear pink.
They called themselves Michele’s Ladies in Pink.
Twelve years later, the event has quadrupled in size, and its reach has spread Wilcha-Zini’s mission to hundreds of people around the region in the fight to end cancer.
The 12th annual Ladies in Pink party takes place Sunday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Fiorelli Catering, 1501 Main St., Peckville. Tickets to the fundraiser cost $40 and must be purchased by Friday, Oct. 5.
Proceeds from the event benefit local women with breast cancer and their families and also finance scholarships for two Valley View High School seniors.
“Michele was very generous, and everybody really loved her,” said sister Wendy Mitchko, who also is on the event committee. “It’s a nice way to raise money and put it to good use to help people. That’s something Michele would have done.”
In addition to the yearly pink dress code, women also are encouraged to wear hats this year, which is a fun play on the recent royal wedding, Mitchko said. Prizes will be given out to those with the most creative hats, and a tea party with cookies from local bakeries takes place after dinner. The Ladies in Pink Party also includes a cash bar, silent auction, raffle baskets and dancing.
At the event, the committee will honor local women in the throes of breast cancer treatment. Recipients are nominated by friends or family and selected by the committee to receive a donation. Mitchko said the recipients won’t know if they are chosen until their name is called at the event.
“It’s a surprise. They just think they’re just coming to the event, but then we get to present them with this donation,” Mitchko said. “They’re always so surprised and grateful, and it makes us so happy to be able to do that.”
To nominate someone, email her name and story to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 5.
While the event is a fun girls’ night out, it still holds true to Wilcha-Zini’s missions to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer and to give back. The owner and operator of Midvalley-area ice cream shop Alpine Swirl, wife to Leo and mom to Rose and Antonio, was diagnosed with stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. The type is commonly misdiagnosed, and Wilcha-Zini used her final five years to spread awareness of the symptoms and encouraged women to be their own medical advocate, all while helping others however she could, Mitchko said. Her generous spirit lives on.
“Having it in Michele’s memory makes it that much better,” she said. “We think this would be something she would really be proud of.”
If you go
What: Michele’s Ladies in Pink Party
When: Sunday, Oct. 21, 2 to 5 p.m.
Where: Fiorelli Catering, 1501 Main St., Peckville
Details: Tickets cost $40 and must be purchased by Friday, Oct. 5. Proceeds benefit local women with breast cancer and their families and also finance two scholarships for Valley View High School seniors.
How to help
Donations can be made through PayPal on the organization’s website, michelesladiesinpink.com, or mailed to Ladies in Pink, 131 Basalyga St., Jessup, PA 18434. To nominate a woman with breast cancer to receive a donation at the event, email her name and story to email@example.com by Friday, Oct. 5.