Even though Louisiana has a lower breast cancer incidence rate as compared to other states, they rank among the highest in terms of deaths contributed to breast cancer.
Business owners and area natives, LaNell and Richard of Melancon Jewelers, decided to step up the plate and do something about the growing rate of fatality from the dreadful disease.
The Pink Links organization was started in 2007. Its inception occurred in conjunction with Melancon Jewelers 25th anniversary celebration.
The Melancon’s, as well as local contributors, banded together to raise $1,700 of proceeds which was promptly donated to support breast cancer research.
Louisiana’s first Dragon Boat, the Cajun Invasion, also made an appearance at the event.
It didn’t take long for the Melancon’s to realize that they were a part of something much greater, and The Pink Links quickly grew in response to the great need for breast cancer support, research, and education.
The Pink Links sell merchandise on their website to support their cause. The group also has an active presence at the Abbeville Cattle festival where they sell merchandise and pass out information in support of the cause.
Their motto, “Fighting Breast Cancer One Link at a Time,” resounds in all events that The Pink Links attend.
For the Susan G. Komen Race, The Pink Links exceeded their goal and raised nearly $600 through its 17 recruited members.
On April 4, The Pink Links participated in Games of Acadiana Reaux for Miles Dragon Boat Festival, which benefited Miles Perret Cancer Services.
Also in benefit of the Miles Perret Center, The Pink Links went to over a hundred local businesses with canisters, flyers, and information about breast cancer.
Due to their efforts, The Pink Links were able to collect and donate over $3,000 to the Lafayette based cancer center.
In 2008, The Pink Links were busy participating in many events including an October mission where they “pinked” area businesses.
The ladies set out, in pink camouflage of course, under the guise of nightfall to leave their mark behind.
A flyer with The Pink Links’ logo and slogan, along with a small note telling the business that they had just been “pinked,” was taped to store front windows and doors.
It was an effort to make the organization known to the business sector, as well as to the public, and rally support for this great cause.
Recently, a group of women from The Pink Links who were breast cancer survivors joined together to form a subgroup called The Pink Link Bosom Buddies.
These ladies, headed by Clerk of Court Diane Broussard, gathered for a night of fun, raising money for Relay for Life as well as bringing awareness to their cause.
Melancon reveals, “Their main goal is to raise awareness but also to have a night of fun.”
“The camaraderie between these ladies was amazing. They came from all over Vermilion Parish and the surrounding parishes. Friends, family, and everyone came out in support of these ladies. Most did not even know each other before hand and the bond they formed that night made me cry.
“It was so heartwarming how they found a connection in each other and made lifelong friends!”
Overall, the driving forces behind The Pink Links are the memories of the fallen. The thoughts of men and women who are battling breast cancer, have battled and survived, or have succumbed to the dreaded disease is what keeps The Pink Links’ flame burning strong.
Until a cure is found, this dedicated group of individuals will continue to do their part to help raise awareness, collect donations, educate the public, and have a little bit of fun in the process. To date, the group has raised nearly $20,000 for breast cancer support.
“A lot of our friends and customers have been affected by breast cancer over the past years. We felt that there was a need in our community for heightened awareness and education. Our main goal is to make people aware of what is out there in terms of help. There are places they can go for help, and people they can speak to. Vermilion Parish has one of the highest death rates for breast cancer and there is no reason for it,” says LaNell.
One does not need to be a breast cancer survivor to belong to the Pink Links organization.
Neither Richard nor LaNell Melancon are survivors, and neither are many of The Pink Links members. They are comprised of a group of concerned citizens conjugated together in believe of the cause.
“We would like to extend a invitation to anyone and everyone to come out and join us. They can learn more, and if they are confronted with a friend or family member – or even themselves – with breast cancer they will know how to better handle it.”
For more information, or to see a list of merchandise available to the public, visit The Pink Links website, http://thepinklinks.org. For more information on the Cajun Invasion or the Miles Perret Center, visit their websites at www.cajuninvasion.org and www.milesperretcenter.org respectively.