Breast Cancer has a New Face: Pink Ribbon Girls

BY: Tristan Navera Tristan Navera, Contributing Writer – October 28, 2012.
last updated 10/28/2012
Breast Cancer has a New Face: Pink Ribbon Girls

This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates 226,870 new cases will be diagnosed in women, and 2,190 new cases will be diagnosed in men. For many of them, it is a very scary, uncertain time. But for Heather Salzar, one of an estimated 2.9 million breast cancer survivors alive today, overcoming the disease was only the beginning.

Breast Cancer has a New Face: Pink Ribbon Girls

This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates 226,870 new cases will be diagnosed in women, and 2,190 new cases will be diagnosed in men. For many of them, it is a very scary, uncertain time.

Pink Ribbon GirlsBut for Heather Salzar, founder of The Pink Ribbon Girls Dayton and herself one of an estimated 2.9 million breast cancer survivors alive today, overcoming the disease was only the beginning. Now she’s on a mission to help others through the hardest battle.

"Our mission statement is that no one travels this road alone. " She said.

The Pink Ribbon Girls, originally founded by Tracie Metzger in Cincinnati, only began its Dayton branch under Salzar last year, but its quest to support those affected by the disease has seen "explosive” success.

Dayton Local: What services does The Pink Ribbon Girls offer?

Heather Salzar: "We provide direct services. We provide three organic meals a week, housecleaning, childcare, and transportation for men and women battling breast cancer, and their families, as they go through treatment.”

"We started out serving three people. We’ve served 170 since October. It’s a little overwhelming.”

"We adopted our fourth child, her mother was fighting Stage IV breast cancer, she was 23 from Dayton. She ended up passing away at 24, and two years later I got the same kind of breast cancer at 31. So from that, my community, my friends and family all came around me. I wanted to provide that. There’s many women who don’t have that kind of support, maybe because they don’t have a lot of family nearby or they’re transplanted and people are getting diagnosed younger and having kids later. Many of the people we serve are still taking care of those children. Life doesn’t stop when you have cancer.”

DL: How did you get started in this philanthropy?

HS: "We started 10 years ago in Cincinnati as a slightly different organization. Kind of an awareness group. I met [Tracie Metzger], and I was going to start my own non-profit but we combined it and our board is out of Dayton now.”

DL: What do people need to know about cancer and those affected by it?

HS: "Many breast cancers are hereditary. You should get yourself breast exams, because I was diagnosed at 31.”

"I believe it’s ok to talk about it. People are going through it and it’s okay to ask them what they need.”

DL: How can people help?

HS: "You can volunteer on PinkRibbonGirls.org. We need lots of help. We’re starting a new volunteer program next year, if we can utilize our volunteers as we grow so big. Our stewardship is important to us, but we really want to utilize our volunteers. We haven’t done a great job with that yet mainly because it’s snowballed so fast, so we need volunteers to help deliver meals or call patients and see about getting meals together and all that.”

"People can also donate online. If you get on our website, you can take a look at our programs, which are the nuts and bolts about what we do.”

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