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Mark your calendars! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation is hard at work planning the 7th Annual Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™, the largest breast cancer awareness event in the Northeast and the final full WaterFire™ lighting of the season.
Downtown Providence will be the pinkest place on the planet this Columbus Day Weekend—October 5, 6, and 7—as more than 100,000 Rhode Islanders take in educational exhibits, health screenings, food, arts, crafts, music, shopping, and lots of family fun. The focus of this year’s event, “Breast cancer is not just your grandmother’s disease,” is a slogan designed to highlight the new, younger face of the illness.
Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ begins with a kickoff event and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, October 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the downtown Providence Marriott, located at 1 Orms Street. Free and open to the public, this event includes the 2013 “Celebrate Hope, Celebrate Life” Calendar unveiling. Sponsored by Gem Plumbing, South County Hospital, and RI Rehabilitation Center, the 2013 “Celebrate Hope, Celebrate Life” Calendar features twelve Rhode Island women, each of whom received a breast cancer diagnosis before the age of 40.
On Saturday, October 6 at 12:00 p.m., Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ continues with the official opening of Celebration Village. Located in Station Park, across Francis Street from Providence Place Mall, Celebration Village consists of several tents, each with a different focus.
The Education & Wellness Pavilion is an opportunity for Rhode Islanders to meet and learn from representatives of area hospitals and health care providers. The Interactive Health Zone will feature free health screenings and innovative health and wellness products. The Garden of Hope will focus on the Foundation’s new horticultural therapy program, a collaboration with Craig Marciniak of Cumberland-based Tranquil Water Gardens. The Mastery Amphitheater will include the popular “Breaking Boards for Breast Cancer,” demonstrations, and instruction from Smithfield-based Mastery Martial Arts. The Healing Arts Pavilion is a chance for visitors to contribute to the Foundation’s Starfish Project, a massive ongoing participatory public art installation. The Kitchen Stadium also opens at noon and will include healthy cooking demonstrations by local vendors, two appearances by Michelle Ragussis of “Food Network Star” fame—one at 1:00 p.m. and another at 4:00 p.m.—and the official launch of a Foundation-published and survivor-penned cookbook, A Gem of a Cookbook.
“Celebration Village is really a way for us to feature all of the different kinds of programming we offer throughout the state all year long, but in one day and in one place,” said Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation Director of Signature Events & Operations, Bryan Sawyer.
At dusk, around 6:30 p.m., Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo will join breast cancer survivors and their loved ones at the Illuminations of Life Ceremony, the pinnacle event of the weekend. During her reign, Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo plans to raise awareness and encourage research related to both ovarian cancer and breast cancer, the third leading cause of death from cancer in Rhode Island, Culpo’s home state. From the State House, bathed in pink light for the event, participants will carry torches to the Providence River basin in memory of those who have lost their battles to breast cancer, and to light the way for those who have yet to begin their journeys. Sponsored by National Grid, the electrifying Illuminations of Life Ceremony concludes with one of the biggest and brightest WaterFire™ lightings of the year. This year, the Illuminations of Life Ceremony will feature special performances by vocalist John Pagano, a Rhode Island native who has been performing with Burt Bacharach for over ten years.
The ARS Pink Party begins at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $25 and includes light fare, live music, and dancing. Proceeds benefit the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. To purchase tickets, please call 401-861-HERO (4376).
The Saturday night main stage headliner this year is Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez. The blond beehive-sporting voice of the Saturday Night Live Band for over two decades will take the stage with her band at 8:00 p.m. The main stage performance is free and open to the public.
On Sunday, October 7 at 11:15 a.m., Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo will compete alongside teammates from Bay View Academy, where she attended high school, in the Gloria Gemma 5K, the Foundation’s biggest fundraising event of the year. The Gloria Gemma Kids 1K, new this year and sponsored by Macy’s, begins an hour earlier at 10:15 a.m.
For information on how to run or walk in the Gloria Gemma 5K or Kids 1K, or contribute to the ongoing fundraising efforts of family members, friends, or coworkers, please visit gloriagemma5k.org. To participate in or support the Illuminations of Life Ceremony, please visit torch.gloriagemma.org. To volunteer, please visit volunteer.gloriagemma.org. To become an event sponsor or vendor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ was created in 2006 to promote breast cancer awareness and education and to honor people living with breast cancer during three inspirational days of education, support, and hope. Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ takes place every year during Columbus Day weekend in downtown Providence.
The Gloria Gemma Foundation was established in 2004 in loving memory of Gloria J. Gemma and to honor her courageous fight against breast cancer. The organization’s mission is to raise breast cancer awareness; increase breast health education; enhance the quality of life for breast cancer patients, as well as their families and friends; and generate funding for local breast health programs. For more information, please call 401-861-HERO (4376) or visit www.gloriagemma.org.