Pink Picnic celebrates breast cancer survivors

awoolen@macon.comOctober 23, 2013 

CENTERVILLE -- The Galleria Conference Center was full of pink.

Pink hats, pink pumpkins, pink hair, pink lemonade and pink balloons graced tables and the stage at the 18th annual Pink Picnic luncheon Oct. 16.

Held each October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the purpose of the luncheon was to raise awareness as well as to celebrate survivors of the disease, said Beth Jones, director of community education for Houston Healthcare.

“I think it’s a good reminder for women to get their recommended screenings,” she said.

During the luncheon, breast cancer survivors strutted down the main aisle for a brief fashion show. Some were cancer survivors for more than 10 years. According to the American Cancer Society, 2.9 million people are breast cancer survivors nationwide.

Among those survivors was author Martha Lanier, of Cumming, who spoke to the more than 500 attendees.

“The key thing is to find humor in everything you do,” she said.

Lanier has eight grandchildren and just spent a week at Walt Disney World.

For her one-year anniversary of being cancer-free, she participated in a triathlon with her daughters.

Her humor and honesty were at the forefront of her speech.

When she was diagnosed at age 60, she researched a lot about cancer but not about cosmetic surgery. Lanier was almost excited when she found out she could get implants as well as a tummy tuck.

“Every single person is different in their response,” she said.

She stressed that her coping mechanism is laughter and told the audience that was why she wrote her book, “Pink Lemonade.”

There were only two books she read when she found out she had breast cancer, and both, she said, were depressing.

“Pink Lemonade” is filled with tips she wrote down on Post-it notes during the time of her diagnosis, surgery and recovery.

“Humor is what I used to get through the tough days,” Lanier said.

The Pink Picnic is usually held at the Museum of Aviation. But it had to move this year after the museum closed as part of the partial government shutdown.

Houston Healthcare, which sponsors the event, had to call each of the 525 attendees to notify them of the change, Jones said.

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