An estimated 250,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and approximately 2.3 million women alive today in the U.S. have had the disease. Two upcoming events will benefit area breast cancer patients.

The fourth annual “In the Pink” Fashion Show and Silent Auction will be held on Friday, September 12, at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, to benefit the Breast Cancer Resource Center of the YWCA Princeton. The center is dedicated to providing information and support to local women and families affected by breast cancer, and to increasing awareness of the disease in the community. Funds raised will support BCRC’s free programs and services, which include support groups, lunch and learn sessions, wellness activities, a wig and prosthesis bank, a peer support network, a resource library, and more.

This annual event celebrates the strength, beauty, and spirit of breast cancer survivors, and the courage and compassion of their support network. Breast cancer survivors, along with their family members, supporters, doctors, and nurses, will model fall fashions from Chico’s, Dandeline Shop, Eastern Mountain Sports, Incredible Me, J. McLaughlin, Sylene’s Fine Lingerie, and Talbots, as well as specialty designs from Chikara Design Inc. The Chikara line was created by fashion designer Hilary Boyajian for post-surgical cancer patients, with designs that allow for body asymmetry, limited arm mobility, and body temperature fluctuation. The evening includes a cocktail reception, and silent and live auctions.

The second event, Retro Betty’s Cherry Poppin’ Party, which takes place on Saturday, September 13, at the Conduit, 439 South Broad Street in Trenton, puts a spotlight on breast cancer cases in young women. Breast cancer is considered rare in younger women; only about five percent of cases occur in women under 40. Fern Sacks of Trenton was only 37 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the past six years, Sacks has undergone two partial mastectomies, chemotherapy treatment, and radiation. After being in remission for a year, the cancer returned in February, 2008.

Although Sacks has been fighting her own cancer, she has always found time to volunteer and be an advocate for cancer patients. A hair stylist by trade, she has used her skills to volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better” program, which teaches breast cancer patients make-up and hair and wig styling techniques while they are undergoing treatment. She has also volunteered and been a spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, as well as a volunteer/educator for the Young Survival Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. She is a founding member of the Young Woman’s Cancer Support Group for breast and ovarian cancer survivors and involved with Cancer Cares, an organization that helps underprivileged and uninsured women obtain access to healthcare.

The eight-hour event, for ages 21 and over, is an evening of music and burlesque. Event co-organizer Amanda Seelig says: “We are hosting this event for our friend Fern Sacks, ‘Retro Betty,’ who has been courageously battling breast cancer for the last few years. We wanted to host a fundraiser in her honor so she can keep her focus on her health. Fern gives so much to her friends, family, and others, this is our chance to give back to her.”

Partial proceeds from the event will also be donated by Sacks to the Young Survival Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to the specific needs and concerns of young women with breast cancer.

Bands will provide a mix of rockabilly, psychobilly and punk music and the lineup includes: Three Bad Jacks from Los Angeles, Psycho Devilles from Atlanta, Devil Sits Shotgun, Jet Weston and the Atomic Ranch Hands, Mad Elephant and Jim Barone, an Elvis tribute artist and four-time winner of the “Best Elvis in NJ,” will show the crowd who is the king of rock and roll. The Peek-a-Boo Revue is a neo-burlesque troupe based in Philadelphia.

In the Pink, Friday, September 12, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Westin at Forrestal Village, Plainsboro. Reception, silent and live auctions, and fashion show. Register. $80. 609-497-2100 or ywcaprinceton.org.

Retro Betty’s Cherry-Poppin’ Party, Saturday, September 13, noon to 8 p.m., Conduit, 439 South Broad Street, Trenton. A fundraiser featuring bands and the neo-burlesque troup Peek-a-Boo Revue, to raise funds for Fern Sacks, “Retro Betty,” who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37. $15 per person. Reservations at www.cherrypoppinparty.com or 609-497-2100, ext. 346 or 349.

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