What started out as a way to honor survivors and fighters of breast cancer has evolved into an opportunity to help women in Ellis County receive proper testing and treatment before cancer becomes a lost cause.

The third annual Pink Ribbons and Heart Luncheon Dinah Weable breast cancer survivors event will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie.

“Our focus is to reach out to this sisterhood,” Dinah said of women in Ellis County who have battled or are battling breast cancer. “We want to reach out to those in the midst of treatments and to survivors.”

Dinah was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, which led to a mastectomy followed by a full reconstruction. In 2005, her husband, Ray Weable, helped organize the first luncheon as a way to honor Dinah and let her tell her story. The successful event led to a second event in 2006 with increased attendance.

With the growth and support from the community, organizers decided to apply for 501(c)3 nonprofit status and use the event as a fund-raiser.

After paying the cost of the 2007 event, any additional funds will be donated toward assisting with mammograms for uninsured or underinsured Ellis County women and treatments if breast cancer is diagnosed.

“The first year we had 40 and last year we had 90. This year we’re expecting 120,” Ray said. “We’ve grown so much, this year we applied for a 501(c)3. Any leftover money from the event will be donated toward women in Ellis County who can’t afford mammograms.”

“The women need the mammograms first to know if they need treatment,” Dinah said.

While adding the aspect of fund-raising to the event, Dinah and Ray also want the event to remain a place where women can come and share their experiences.

For some women, it’s a chance for newly diagnosed women to look at the survivors as heroes. For survivors, it’s a chance to talk about their hardships and give advice. The luncheon also serves as an opportunity for families to honor the women in their life who have faced the obstacle of breast cancer.

Planning for the event is under way and event organizers are seeking sponsors. Vintage Bank of Waxahachie has already signed on as the luncheon underwriter, with Jeff Frazier presenting a check to Dinah on Wednesday. Various levels of sponsorship are available, ranging from $100 to $1,500.

For more information, contact Ray or Dinah Weable at (972) 938-5093 or Sherry Dyess at (972) 938-1181.