Successful "Paint the Fair Pink Day" at Tennessee Valley Fair

Successful "Paint the Fair Pink Day" at Tennessee Valley Fair

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Everywhere you looked Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville you no doubt saw the color pink.

The day marked the third annual Paint the Fair Pink Day, designed to raise awareness about breast cancer and raise money for the local chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Komen Knoxville partners with the fair every year in hopes of raising funds for cancer research.

Seventy-five percent of the funds raised during the day will stay in East Tennessee to help locals who are battling breast cancer.

"We help them with their screening. We help them to mammograms, biopsies, and ultrasounds. We also do education and support groups," said Amy Dunaway, of Susan G. Komen Knoxville.

Organizers threw a little competition into the mix in hopes of getting people to talk more openly about breast cancer.

Attendees competed in the Bedazzle Your Bra and Caps for the Cure contests.

They decorated bras and ball caps in 4 different categories, including Pretty ‘n Pink, Down on the Farm, Fair Food and Wild Safari.

Entry fees go back to helping locals face the breast cancer battle.

"We have women who have to choose between putting gas in their car to get to treatment, or putting food on their table. We help them with gas cards. We help with mortgages or keeping the lights or electricity on," said Dunaway.

But it isn't just about fundraising. It's also about awareness, especially about early screenings.

"The mortality rate decreases so significantly if your breast cancer is detected early. And that's why we have to get people aware. They need to be aware of what's right for them. If they see changes in their body, they need to talk to their doctor. Don't just ignore that," said Dunaway.

One of the participants, who designed four of the bras, says early detection saved her life.

"I found mine myself and I was actually too young to even have mammograms. By the time I would have had a mammogram, it probably would have been too late for me," said Chrissi Keck, of Knoxville.

By hosting lighthearted events like this, even organizers hope it will be a conversation starter of sorts, getting people more comfortable talking about breast cancer.

"By doing the bras, which I think at first people thought was a little strange, we're just opening so much dialogue to talk about these things," said Keck.

Keck hopes people learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer, because she knows the difference it can make.

"I'm a seven-year survivor. I always say my life started over seven years ago when this happened to me," said Keck.

Through entry fees and T-shirt sales, Sunday's event raised nearly $2,000 for the Komen Knoxville.

For more information on Komen Knoxville and the treatment support they provide, visit komenknoxville.org.

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