Cowboys in Pink? - Kitsap Fair fundraiser highlights women’s health.

When breast cancer survivor Linda Foutch underwent emergency surgery in April and discovered she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she thought she would have to stop her work in breast cancer advocacy.

But, despite the chemotherapy treatments she still receives, her doctor encouraged her to continue her work, so she could inspire other women living with cancer.

That’s why Foutch, of Bremerton, is heading up the Tough Enough to Wear Pink event for the second time at the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede next weekend. The event is a fundraiser that will benefit the Breast and Cervical Health Program at Peninsula Community Services, which offers breast and cervical health screenings to uninsured and low-income women.

Foutch and her committee of volunteers have sold raffle tickets at Kitsap grocery stores and the group will host a daily booth selling merchandise at the rodeo at the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede Aug. 25-29. The fundraising effort will culminate in Saturday’s main event, when cowboys and fairgoers are encouraged to wear pink and the raffle winners will be announced.

For Foutch, the cause is personal. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and endured 10 months of treatment that included chemotherapy and radiation. The experience motivated Foutch to get involved and help others in her situation.

“I just realized that I really wanted to do something,” she said. “What can I do to help? What can I do to give back?”

This year marked her five-year survivor anniversary, but then her lymphoma was discovered, putting her back on chemotherapy.

Despite the fatigue brought on by her treatment, her spirits are lifted by the women who are helping her coordinate Tough Enough to Wear Pink — each of them personally affected by cancer one way or another.

“I just really believe that working with women who have gone through this before me, you can just create such a wonderful bond,” Foutch said.

Patience Bassett, also in her second year of helping with the event, said this year’s fundraising recipient can help prevent the onset of cancer that much of her friends have endured by offering examinations to women who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

“We’re trying to get low-income women doing those mammograms,” Bassett said. “This will help everybody in the long run.”

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