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Friday, October 19, 2012

Column: Shorelines

Hit the road to promote breast cancer awareness

Event organizer Donna Ashbery will be wearing this T-shirt to promote the cause.

Courtesy photo

Event organizer Donna Ashbery will be wearing this T-shirt to promote the cause.

Cue Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" and get ready to rev your engines. On Sunday, vehicles of all types will take to the roads around the lake for a 115-mile poker run to support breast cancer awareness.

Lake resident Donna Ashbery is one of the organizers. She explained how she and a group of friends, Vickie Collins, Amy Ward, Debbie Doodah, Helen Fortner, Allison Tonachio and Jennifer Dolinger, came up with the idea.

"All of us have been affected by breast cancer one way or another," said Ashbery, a 21-year breast cancer survivor. "We've all got relatives or friends who've had it, and some of us have had it ourselves."

Anyone is eligible to participate in Sunday's event, and can register by 10:30 a.m. at Mango's at Bridgewater Plaza, which is also the first card stop.

In addition to the poker run, prizes will be awarded for the best-decorated vehicle, best-dressed couple and best-dressed individual male and female based on votes by participants.

"We're going to vote there," said Ashbery of the best-of competition. "But we won't tell who wins until the end."

The winner of the best-decorated vehicle will win a 48,000-BTU gas grill, which was donated to the event by Capps Home Building Center. Other door prizes include handmade jewelry; gift certificates from Mango's, Hot Shots Family Fun Center and Spa La La; movie passes from Westlake Cinema; and cruise passes from Virginia Dare Cruises. A 50-50 raffle and silent auction are planned, too.

Ashbery and her friends have been spreading the word around the lake community by posting fliers highlighting the event and placing donation jars at area businesses. They've also created an event page on Facebook called "Get Your Pink On - Poker Run for Breast Cancer."

The cost to participate is $10 per driver, $15 per couple and $5 for each additional hand, with all proceeds benefiting Carilion Clinic's Breast Care Center.

"We really need to make the public aware of the resources that are available, including the Every Woman's Life program [at Carilion]," said Ashbery. The program provides free mammograms, clinical breast exams, Pap tests and pelvic exams to women who are uninsured or underinsured.

In addition to Mango's, other card stops are at the Mill Iron Grill, the Peaks of Otter Lodge, the Lynchburg Moose Lodge and Hot Shots, which is the final stop.

After the poker run, for an additional $5, hungry participants can feast on a barbecue buffet at Hot Shots.

Ashbery and her friends are optimistic there will be a good turnout, especially if the weather is good. She said she hopes to draw out motorcycle enthusiasts who come to the lake for a leisurely Sunday drive.

"We're thinking we'll have about 70 bikes, but I think it's going to be better than that," said Ashbery. "People want to get out and ride."

Participants are also encouraged to show their support by dressing in pink, the color of breast cancer awareness.

"We want people to get their pink on and come on out," said Ashbery, who plans to wear a pink T-shirt with a female skull and crossbones (complete with bow) with the caption, "It's not pink, it's not pretty. Cancer sucks, big time."

Ashbery explained the origin of the T-shirt.

"This isn't really our official T-shirt, [it's] just something I fell into serious like with, and Kimberly White of ASAP at The Lake House Beanery made up for me," she said. "You can get one for $14 at her shop."

For more information about the event, visit the Facebook event online at https://www.facebook.com/events/437793032939841/ or email Donna Ashbery at dashbery1@gmail.com.