Episode 170

Cheers to October: A Month of Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraisers and Milestones

November 21, 2023
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Fundraising Manager Shannon McNair joins the show again to give us an update on how Breast Cancer Awareness Month went.

From golf tournaments to restaurants and everything in between, The Rose’s community showed up in full force. In fact, we’ve got word that one golf tournament has already committed to raising money for us next year!

We’re so thankful for your continued support of our mission. No amount is too small and every dollar counts toward providing critical screenings for women across forty-three Texas counties. Regardless of their ability to pay.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to The Rose today. It could save the life of a woman in your community.


Dorothy: [00:00:00] “Have smile, will travel” that best describes her own Shannon McNair after seeing the results of October’s events all during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She was out meeting with people and helping them put on their events. They baked cakes and sold t shirts, they played tennis, they had golf tournaments.

There was so much more that was happening, but all to raise money for the Rose. She’s here today to thank everyone who made this year’s third party fundraising events the best year ever. And in this episode, she’s going to highlight some of those events and share some of the ingenuity of people determined to make a difference.

Every event was most appreciated and needed. Let’s talk about your breast. A different kind of podcast presented to you by The Rose, the Breast Center of Excellence and a Texas treasure. You’re going to hear frank discussions about tough topics, and you’re going to learn why knowing [00:01:00] about your breast could save your life. Join us as we hear another story and we answer those tough questions that you may have.

So today we’re with Shannon McNair and she is our manager of special events fundraising all things fundraising And she’s here to tell us how the month of October went, which I understand was probably one of our best months ever.

Shannon: It was a great month. Uh, they all seem to be the, I think we say that every time, but I think every time it proves to be true, they’re bigger and better.

I think As we get past the pandemic as well, people are more and more like, what can I do? Let me get out. Let’s bring back these events or do something new. Um, so it was another great month that we were very busy, which is always a sign of how much the community is supporting us when they want us to come out and be at their events, speak to their groups, um, and just help them be successful and what their their plans are for The [00:02:00] Rose.

Dorothy: All right, so tell us some of these.

Shannon: Well, we had so many great ones this year. We had a lot of golf tournaments this year, which are always fun. Uh, in one of our groups, the Willow Fork Women’s Golf Association did a great, we’ve already know their numbers. They’re up 30 percent from last year and their fundraising.

And, uh, we were so grateful. They already have a date for next year. So, you know, a lot of our groups are excited and ready to go for next year, which is always fun too. And we had a lot of newcomers this year, which is always fun for us. to meet some new folks that haven’t supported us in the past, but have chosen The Rose.

Uh, you know, Pico’s authentic Mexican food restaurant did a special brunch for The Rose and did a margarita all month as well. And ALife Hospitality, which has seven bars and restaurants underneath them. They came to us this year and wanted to do something and every single one of their locations had a special pink drink that benefits The Rose.

So it’s great to talk to the new folks who are like, we want to do something. And they heard about us. They knew our mission and it meant something to them to support something that’s local.

Dorothy: So when you say they heard about us, [00:03:00] how did they hear about us?

Shannon: I think ALIFE heard about us from Ladies of Libation, who are supporters of us.

Um, in fact, they did their Old Forester special release bourbon, which they do a special blend. They work with Old Forester. Um, so this was their 2. 0, and when they did it for the first time and this time, they included the rose in their fundraising. So 20 from every bottle of that limited edition bottle, and it did sell out, um, comes to The Rose, and they do that every year to support us.

So they work with ALIFE Hospitality, so they knew right away. Um, how to come to us and then, uh, you know, folks Google us that or a lot of them are patients and they’ll raise their hand and say, Hey, you knew who helped me when I didn’t have insurance, the Rose and I would love to give back to them. And that’s great.

A fit nations, another one, which is a fitness group locally, not a big chain or a huge group, but they had someone in their group who we helped. And last year they raised money and did some t shirt sales and this year they raised a thousand dollars. So it’s in all forms and fashion that it comes to us.

Um, but usually someone knows someone. that The Rose was there for, and they want to [00:04:00] be there for us to help the next person.

Dorothy: So now all these events happen in October, but you have some that go on all year long.

Shannon: Right, so there’s some that have come up. Of course, Nice Winery, it’s the rosé until it runs out.

So it starts in September and then goes through sometimes You know, through November and maybe even later. And then we have Cooling Curve, who is Mike Martin, who has been on the podcast. And what a great story he has. His wine cooler, the Cooling Curve, is now going to be a year round fundraiser for the Rose.

And so is Source Vital. They’ve been a longtime supporter of ours every October. Um, percent of their sales come to us. They’re an all natural skin care organization that’s local. Um, and uh, natural deodorants, how we started partnering with them and then it went to all of their products and they’re going to be year round as well.

So those are on our website. They’ll still be there up all year round for folks to look to. Um, great for gifts as we get closer to the holidays. The great gift ideas from those, all three of those really, who wouldn’t want any of those things. So those will be year round and we’re excited about those partnerships.[00:05:00]

Dorothy: You talked this last week about a bake sale that went on. So

Shannon: yeah, that was one we didn’t know about. You know, as we say, we, we know of at least 100 plus that we were informed of, uh, organ of probably about 120 that were on our calendar that we knew were happening. And then this comes up as one of the many that we didn’t know was happening until money started coming in.

And we reached out and that was Phillips 66, which I know you have a connection to, you know, they did a bake sale and they raised a lot of money for a bake sale.

Dorothy: And my friend Jane decided to make it even more by offering baking lessons at her home one day. And I thought, now that’s ingenious. I mean, here, a bake sale, and then you add another component to it.

And they, she was so excited.

Shannon: When people love those things. And one of the things we find a lot of is. That’s someone’s hobby. That’s what becomes a fundraiser for them. So maybe it’s a bake sale or they’re offering cooking classes or things because it’s things that they enjoy doing. Uh, you know, cause it’s long before I got here, pottery for prevention.

That’s folks who enjoy pottery and, and [00:06:00] making pottery. And they’ve made it into an annual fundraiser for us. That’s gone on long before I got here. So, you know, people turn their hobbies into something that can really give back to the community.

Dorothy: So, you know, of what’d you say, 120.

Shannon: Probably at least 120 that we have.

Dorothy: Before November is done, you’ll probably have another hundred in there?

Shannon: Yeah, there’s some that we don’t know about. Again, we see money coming in and we start asking questions and reaching out. Um, there’s some school districts that do stuff that don’t really tell us ahead of time. Uh, they’re doing jean days or whatever they might be doing.

Uh, bake sales or walks at their campuses. We’ll hear about those later. Or as they come in and say, Hey, we’ve got a check for you. Come pick it up. And we still have two more events. We have an Alief walk and then a martial arts group up in Katie Golden Eagle. They do a “Kicking for The Cure” with all their members, kicking boards, raising funds for The Rose.

And that’s also because the wife, when they didn’t have insurance. She found out she had breast cancer and we were there for her to get her through that, that, uh, process and get her back into her family and her work life. [00:07:00] And they’re so grateful and supportive and they’re a wonderful, wonderful family.

Dorothy: That was a really special story.

Shannon: It’s really special and we get to go back there in a couple weeks. So it’s going to be great to see them in person again. Yeah.

Dorothy: When you go out and, and you’re helping these events, what do you do?

Shannon: Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure they have materials. So if they have brochures or we have our postcard, which has got a lot of great information about the mission, because maybe their customers or their membership don’t know about the Rose and want to know where the money’s going.

And so we want to make sure they have all of that available as well. We have pink ribbons they can put up around their businesses and where folks can write messages of hope. If you go to. Most Little Woodrow’s in October, um, all around town. There are several years supportive of ours now. Um, they do pink parties, but all month long, they’ve got those ribbons put up and folks make a donation, can put a special message on those pink ribbons and they’ll put them up around the bar and restaurant.

And then they do pink parties all month. So we make sure those kinds of materials are on hand. If they need help with fundraising pages. We can set up a page really easily so they can send [00:08:00] that link out so that all those donations that people are making, maybe it’s for a bake sale or t shirts, um, we can handle the donation pages for those or we go speak.

You know, I spoke last Saturday at a group that was raising money and got to talk firsthand to some survivors that were there that have come through this disease and that’s why this event was happening, um, but also talk about The Rose. Maybe they didn’t know and they can share that information and that’s one of the reasons we like to be out in public too is make sure.

When someone comes up and they don’t have insurance and they’re not sure what to do, either they’ve heard of us or someone they know has heard of us and they can send them in. So it’s not just the fundraising, which is a huge component of it. As we know, half a million dollars makes a huge impact on our, our budget and what we can do for women.

But also that awareness out there to make sure every woman is heard. But there is a place to go if they find themselves and they’re not sure what to do, we can be there.

Dorothy: So, Shannon, I want you to go back just a second. When you talked about the fundraising pages.

Shannon: Yeah.

Dorothy: This means someone could put on an event and not even have to handle the money.

Shannon: Exactly, which a lot of folks don’t want to [00:09:00] handle the money, or they don’t have a big board, or you know, it’s a few people, um, Venmo to their own accounts, or that sort of thing, and then do the the bookkeeping, if you will, on what the event. So we can set up those pages and anyone who wants to make a donation or if they’re buying a t shirt, we can set those up where they go straight to that link and it’s either got donation or tickets or we have QTS, which is an organiz—, a national company.

Um, they sell all kinds of merchandise during October that’s branded and pink ribbon related blankets, shirts, pens, those hats. And we set up those pages for them so that they’re. Not handling it, they get the information on who bought what, so they can work on their side to, to handle the merchandise, but they don’t have to handle the actual cash sales of that.

And it also is, you know, easier for the tax donation for the, their, their givers. If they’re, if they’re sponsoring an event, they make that donation, um, online. It comes to the Rose, they’re going to get the acknowledgement from the Rose as well.

Dorothy: And. I just heard from another great supporter. Strike for— “Strike Out Cancer”.[00:10:00]

Shannon: I haven’t talked to Donna this year.

Dorothy: She says she has something for you and wants you to come pick it up.

Shannon: One of my favorite places to go meet up as well.

Dorothy: This has been how many years? A decade?

Shannon: Again, before me, because I’ve been here eight years and she was already going longtime supporter. We would have called her before I got here.

And I always like to hear how they’re doing with their tournament. They have such a great time. And then they also sometimes do a custom pink bowling ball, which is stunning in person because it is It’s pink. It’s, it is not a mild color. It is a bright pink and it’s, it’s beautiful. And they’re, they’re so wonderful.

Dorothy: And you know, we would be, uh, remiss if we did not mention Casa Olé and how they’ve supported us.

Shannon: Oh my goodness. Yes.

Dorothy: I know two decades of just selling ribbons.

Shannon: And they’re one of those that aren’t even on our list because they do it every year. So they’re not like I have to remember. Um, but they raise money.

They use those pink ribbons in their, in their, in their shops to go the, particularly the Pasadena location and the Pearland location. Um, but big supporters in ways that we can’t even count in ways that the public won’t ever see, [00:11:00] you know, they love supporting our employees here and, um, and we’re so grateful for what they do for us internally to make sure we’re fueled up for October because we’re all very busy in October.

Our centers are busier, um, not just our team out in the public, but everyone’s busier and they, they’re here to make sure that we’re fueled up on, uh, National Mammography Day.

Dorothy: And I don’t want to miss this opportunity to talk about how we have been in need of Chemo Kits.

Shannon: Right.

Dorothy: And that’s all online. There’s a way to just go to the link and purchase it online.

Shannon: Yeah, we have all that set up now through an Amazon link. Um, or you can, we have a lot of Mary Kay supporters. I could be remiss to not mention them. Mary Kay has great unscented products that are wonderful for folks going through chemo. And those, uh, reps every year show up for us in October with lots of kits, uh, stacked up and don’t worry, we got plenty of room.

We, we will always take more. There is a great list on Amazon lip balm and just people don’t know what a Chemo Kit is and don’t know someone who’s gone through chemo lip lip balm. Your lips get [00:12:00] chapped, your skin gets dry, but you also get cold. So gloves and fuzzy socks and just anything to help make a woman feel more comfortable going through that.

Um, is helpful and we have an Amazon link for that. We also look for turbans and scars for those who are losing their hair and, um, and we have a wig bank. We have a wig bank. Very, very. People don’t often know that we, we accept that a lot of folks, um, have stopped taking in things like, you know, MD Anderson that, and they will refer them to the Rose.

They know that we still take that. Our patients are so grateful anytime we can get them, um, those sorts of things that don’t have to come out out of pocket and make a impact on their, their family’s financial well.

Dorothy: And we’re, we diagnose somewhere between 400 and 500 women and men every year. So this is something that we use year round.

Shannon: Ongoing.

Dorothy: Yeah.

Shannon: Yeah. We get a lot in October, again, when people are thinking about it. But as we’ve said before, many times cancer doesn’t care. Um, so we, we often are running low in. March, June, whenever it might be, because that’s when folks aren’t thinking about those Chemo [00:13:00] Kits. So don’t think it stops, um, just because we’re getting a little more rest in November.

Um, doesn’t mean that we don’t need things year round for our patients that we diagnose. We have a great Quilt Guild. We might as well talk about that as well. That’s been going on forever. That makes sure that every patient we diagnose that. We have a nice quilt to give them and a pillow that, again, just gives them that extra comfort for what they’re going to be going through.

Um, and, but those chemo kits are needed year round and we kind of will send the alarm out, um, once in a while to, uh, companies. And, and it’s a great thing for church groups, for Boy Scout, Girl Scout groups, any community organization that is looking for something to do, um, when they, when they want some volunteer time.

They come to us for volunteers all the time and often we can’t use a volunteer in the clinics. Um, you know, we don’t have that great need. Um, like other organizations, but we can use groups putting some things together for us like that. Great help to us year round.

Dorothy: And so many of our women are uninsured, so when we get them into a program, you know, cancer is expensive, it doesn’t matter.

Shannon: [00:14:00] Right.

Dorothy: Insured, uninsured, you’re going to have. Cost for parking you’re gonna have all these other costs that come in. So yeah, those kits are just really important.

Shannon: Anything, anything helps. Obviously those, you know, gas cards are another thing. I don’t want to miss that because our goal is always to keep people on treatment and we never want gas to be the issue of reasons someone didn’t get to treatments.

Our patient navigators always can use gas cards as well, um, to get folks, make sure that’s not in, you know, they’re already hurting financially. As you said, there’s always an impact financially, even though we’ve got them into treatment, but they’re not working as many hours if their hourly employees, if their husband is hourly and they’re taking time off to to care for them and to get them places, you know, that impacts the bottom line and gas is something that they’re going to— they can’t not have.

Dorothy: And I don’t know that people really realize, there’s been many times a woman has had to make that decision between do I go to my appointment, but I don’t have any gas.

Shannon: Right.

Dorothy: I needed that money for groceries this week. I mean, we’re talking real [00:15:00] life financial issues.

Shannon: So many people deal with that.

Every, every, the little thing, I’ve got the 10, what’s it going to go to? And then if they skip their appointment, we know what that does to them. So our patient navigators are always on top of trying to see what is the barrier and where barriers to care from from start to finish for us and a barrier to care financially could be that simple gas card that they just needed that month to help get them through.

Dorothy: So annually these third party events raise?

Shannon: About half a million. Well, we’re hoping half a million dollars. We hit that last year. Um, we’re very excited and I think we’ll do that again this year. Our partners were so great. We have again some new ones and then some that we know have have raised more than they did last year.


Dorothy: So last year that that half a million dollars went directly to the care of absolutely 1029 women.

Shannon: Say it again.

Dorothy: 1, 029 women. Now, the important thing about that is we get a lot of grants. We raise over 6 million every year, thankfully, to take care of all the [00:16:00] uninsured women that we have. But those grants don’t always cover every single person that comes to us for help.

So that, uh, we had 7, 100 women last year that were totally uninsured that we got through their whole diagnostic workups and screening and then some needed the treatment. But this 1, 029 women that I’m talking about did not fit into any grant, uh, criteria. And our grants always come with something that, that our patients have to meet.

They may have to be 40 years old. They may have to live in a certain county. They may, uh, have to be over 60. I mean, there’s just all, some are broken up by, um, are identified by what race you are, are, It’s, it’s really all grants have some kind of criteria. So this, having this unrestricted funds allows us to capture those.

Maybe we even ran out of money. Maybe [00:17:00] we’ve already used all the grant. So of those 1029 women, 60 were diagnosed.

Shannon: Oh.

Dorothy: Now. If we had not had these 30 part, third party event funds, we would have missed those women.

Shannon: Those 60.

Dorothy: Those, that is the scariest part. So when we talk about this as a community supported organization, I mean, that’s, that’s it right there.

And they came from 14 different counties.

Shannon: Oh, wow. Okay.

Dorothy: So this is not just right here in Harris County.

Shannon: Or even the immediate surrounding. Right.

Dorothy: Even the immediate.

Shannon: Right.

Dorothy: So. That money is really used well and, and it really reaches our patients.

Shannon: I always tell, and people are glad to hear it when I go speak at a, at an event where we’re supporting them in that way, not just bringing, um, materials, but also talking about it.

So folks that are in the room really know what we’re doing is that, you know, we started as community supporting community in, you know, back before when you first, day one, you open the door, it’s insured women have got to come in the door to get to help. So it’s community helping community. And [00:18:00] that’s what it still is today.

And with these events, which we didn’t have back then, the, the amount that we have going on now, um, we wouldn’t be here for any of those 60 women if it wasn’t for this, everything from the t shirt sale, you know, to Chloe Dao, famous designer, um, doing a pink collections and everything in between. Yeah, exactly.

Oh, they were stunning, stunning outfits. Um, so everything in between that. That made a difference that the individual elementary school that parents and teachers getting together to fund that the walk coming up that all makes a difference and it really is helping someone in your community that you may never meet.

You may meet her because she also may bring it up that they were The Rose was there for me, you know, she may come up right to you or he and say that’s who was there to help me and one of the groups that supports us. It’s one of our male supporters, um, is, is tied to Evonik. the plants there and they’ve raised money for us for years and it’s because we helped someone and we made a difference and that community helping community is [00:19:00] just our very baseline.

Dorothy: It is. It is.

Shannon: From the insured woman.

Dorothy: Yes.

Shannon: The chemo kits to the people raising money. It’s all of it.

Dorothy: Barbecues, desserts, cocktails.

Shannon: All of it.

Dorothy: Yeah.

Shannon: I always love the charity calories. You know, I, I partook of some, you know, it’s my excuse to go, but we love going to Rudy’s, but we had the, the strawberry cinnamon roll from J bar, the Tata taco from tacos, a go go who support us for a couple of years now.

And it’s been a long time mobile supporter of our unit. And again, owned by someone who’s a survivor. So they know what it is, what they’re going through and what it means to make sure that that uninsured woman is got someone there for her.

Dorothy: That’s what it’s all about.

Shannon: That’s what it’s all about. And we’re, we’ll rest for a little bit.

Dorothy: Yes.

Shannon: And then we’ll get ready for next year. But not very long. Not very long.

Dorothy: But we cannot say thank you enough to our community, to everyone that organizes these events, to, oh my gosh, we so depend on you.

Shannon: There’s a reason we’re out every day doing it, and we, and we, LaTonya and I have a list of the reasons why.

So even when it was raining or, you know, we were booked [00:20:00] going to three events back to back, um, every event meant so much to us to be there and know where the, what we’re doing, uh, for the women that come in our door every day.

Dorothy: Well, Shannon McNair, you’re doing a great job. We appreciate you so much. And uh, if you ever have an event in mind, call Shannon, she, she’ll make it happen for you.

Shannon: We will do what we can to help you for sure.

Dorothy: That’s it.

Shannon: We want to make it easier. We want to make it easier.

Dorothy: Absolutely. Yeah. And we appreciate it.

Shannon: So grateful.

Dorothy: Yes.

Post-Credits: Thank you for joining us today on Let’s Talk About Your Breasts. This podcast is produced by Speke Podcasting and brought to you by The Rose.

Visit to learn more about our organization. Subscribe to our podcast, share episodes with friends and join the conversation on social media using hashtag #Let’sTalkAboutYourBreasts. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Consider supporting the rose. Your gift can make the difference to a person in need.

And remember, self care is not selfish. It’s essential.[00:21:00]

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