Written by Jaimee Green
The sky above Marvin Brookman Stadium took center stage Thursday night, July 11, as nearly 100 people took to the arena during the third annual luminary lighting during the 90th Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede.
With large, heat-filled luminaries in hand, the volunteers let them lift up to the skies while music of honor and remembrance played and the rodeo announcer addressed breast cancer.
The annual event is sponsored each year by Northeast Montana Health Services in conjunction with Thursday night’s grassroots cowboy campaign, Tough Enough to Wear Pink.
“The luminaries create a heartfelt visual that leaves a lasting impression on everybody that sees it. It helps create a personal connection to the importance of finding a cure for breast cancer even if a person hasn’t been personally impacted by it,” said Jaimee Green, marketing director for NEMHS.
Through the collaboration of the Stampede Committee and NEMHS, the opening night rodeo has been dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer while unifying the community through the signature color, pink.
Upon entering through the gates, rodeo-goers had an opportunity to grab a few trinkets and were offered pink bracelets if by chance they forgot to put on their pink duds. Many offered up free-will donations into the pink buckets held by volunteers at the entrances.
Nationally, The Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night has raised millions of dollars for research and outreach with the help of dedicated cowboys, spectators and community members. The total amount of money raised locally from the fundraising campaign is still being tallied with funds coming in from local businesses and organizations.
All of the proceeds will be given to NEMHS and will be given to the radiology’s digital mammography department.
In 2010, NEMHS switched to digital mammography, currently one of the most advanced screening options available. The benefits to patients include more accurate results, a decreased chance for follow up visits for imaging issues and quicker results.
The comfort technology also creates a softer, warmer experience for the patient while allowing the radiologist to retrieve an enhanced image without needing to wait for film processing. Digital features allow instant imaging and clarity.
Mammograms are currently the best test for finding breast cancer early. A series of X-ray pictures allows health providers to look for early signs of breast cancer, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
It is recommended that women who are 40 and over have an annual mammogram to increase the chances of early detection.