WAXAHACHIE — More than 280 survivors and community members attended the 12th annual Pink Ribbons & Hearts Dinah Weable Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon, as First United Methodist Church was flooded with shades of pink, Saturday, Oct. 15. The turnout was the largest to date.

Survivor Dinah Weable, an active community member and a member of the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Committee, started the committee and luncheon with her husband, Ray Weable, 12 years ago.

“It was wonderful, awesome and whatever adjective you can think of because it was the largest luncheon we have hosted yet. We are reaching out to more people all the time because that is our purpose,” Weable said.

At the luncheon, guests received a catered lunch, were eligible for door prizes and listened to the story of the committee and stories of survival.

“When my husband, Ray, conceived the idea of this luncheon, he had no idea how many lives we would touch in twelve years. He, Charlene Pitts, and Linda Smith believed, at first, that we’d have a few ladies attend the luncheon and enjoy their time together, and then go on their way until the next year, and that is not what happened. The first year’s attendance was 35,” Weable said.

With 280 in attendance this year, for the first time three male survivors were present as well as sustaining sponsors of the committee in Baylor Healthcare System, Jim Pitts, Hilco Electric Co-Op and the Waxahachie Firefighters Association.

“It is only through the cooperation of The Hope Clinic and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Waxahachie that we can work toward saving lives by women being tested through a mammogram. What began small is no longer small,” Weable explained. “Because of the continued financial support of individuals and businesses in Ellis County, we have paid for almost 100 mammograms plus radiology per year since 2007. “

According to Weable, the committee has paid for a total of 113 mammograms and radiology appointments throughout the month of September in Ellis County.

“This comes to a total of 879 mammograms in nine years. We are currently trying to decide how to celebrate when we reach the total of 1000 paid for tests,” Weable said.

The Waxahachie Fire Department is the most recent of the sustaining sponsors.

“When the fire department expressed interest in working with us on the sale of t-shirts, they were donating the proceeds to the Susan G Komen Foundation. When they realized that we stay local, they wanted to help people locally and began donating the proceeds to cover the cost of mammograms for those who qualify for the Hope Clinic. That way whoever may need a mammogram can get one,” Weable said.

Ray Weable believes keeping the committee and event local is great.

“What we are doing is getting our word out through Ellis County and we know we have saved lives by doing so. If it wasn’t for merchants like Baylor Scott & White, Citizens National Bank and individuals, this wouldn’t be possible. We’re fortunate to be where we are,” Ray said.

During her speech Saturday, Dinah mentioned that before the Baylor Scott & White Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center opened, those who were receiving treatment had to travel to Dallas.

“This is a huge blessing to the women who are in treatment because they can stay right here back home and do their treatment. There may be times they have to travel to visit a doctor, but most of the time they can stay here,” Weable said.

Diann Wilson’s husband and guest speaker for the luncheon, Don Wilson, shared the story of his wife's diagnosis and treatment from a spouse’s point of view.

“We were very glad that Don Wilson agreed to speak. It gave a whole different perspective to the battle,” Weable said.

Without the support of many individuals and businesses across the community, the couple claims the event would not be possible.

“We want to recognize those attending from Baylor Scott & White Hospital. Many of you who have had treatment right here in Waxahachie are especially appreciative of these caregivers. Baylor is truly a place where our hope becomes a reality,” Weable said.

Both Dinah and Ray thanked the Hope Clinic of Waxahachie who provides a referral service for the committee, InterBank for covering the cost of the catered lunch and the Waxahachie Daily Light for coverage.

“Lone Star Western and Casual Wear hosts a “ladies night out” each year, and supports our organization with that. Kevin and Darla Chester have supported our cause for years, but this year they have special reason to celebrate Darla’s being a survivor, too. These, along with the many others named on the back of your program enable us to continue our mission to help women in need,” Weable said.

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Kelsey Poynor, @KPPoynor_WDL

(469) 517-1454