PTTP aiming for $200,000 in fundraising for Institute’s breast cancer research

Paint the Town Pink is aiming for another record fundraising year that will include more than a dozen new communities joining the annual effort focused on raising awareness and support for The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota’s world-renowned breast cancer research.

PTTP Director Kathi Finley and other leaders with the initiative announced today at The Hormel Institute a $200,000 fundraising goal for the 6th annual Paint the Town Pink, which has fundraising events throughout the year but officially will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 14 in Austin. They also unveiled dates for some of the major PTTP events in early 2016 as well as fundraisers happening this month with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month nationally.

“With each year, Paint the Town Pink has grown in the number of events, participants and overall fundraising,” Finley said. “We are excited to expand our initiative even more throughout our region to accelerate research into better ways to prevent and treat breast cancer.”

Finley also announced this year’s Paint the Town Pink ambassadors as Kelly Joseph and Darci Buchan – two Austin women who are friends and each personally affected by breast cancer. Joseph was diagnosed in July 2013 and now is cancer free. Buchan was diagnosed in February 2014 and is undergoing treatments.

Joseph and Buchan have been involved with Paint the Town Pink, including Joseph sharing her story this past May at the “Strides for a Cure” 5K run/walk put on by the Austin High School Youth Leadership Club. Buchan led the distribution of “Fight For…” cards in partnership with Mayo Clinic Health Systems as part of the 2015 PTTP effort, raising more than $1,800.

“It truly is a privilege to call Kelly and Darci our PTTP ambassadors – they are strong, courageous women whose personal stories will help us all remember the main mission: Defeating breast cancer,” Finley said.

Austin-based Sterling Drug is helping significantly to spread Paint the Town Pink in the region with a new fundraiser during the month of October at the company’s 17 stores. Sterling Drug Stores and the Astrup Family Foundation are teaming up to raise funds for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research by selling Breast Cancer Awareness pins at Sterling stores. Each purchased pin will lead to a donation getting matched by the Astrup Family Foundation.

Sterling Drug has stores in 15 communities in Minnesota – Adrian, Albert Lea, Austin, Buffalo, Caledonia, Fairmont, Faribault, Harmony, Hastings, La Crescent, Northfield, Owatonna, Rushford, Spring Grove and Worthington – as well as in two cities in Iowa – Cresco and Osage.

“We are honored and thankful to the Astrup Family Foundation and Sterling Drugs for designating The Hormel Institute’s cancer research as the recipient for this new campaign,” said Gail Dennison, Director of Development and Public Relations for The Hormel Institute. “This is a gift for everyone who cares about accelerating answers to cancer since 100% of all donations go directly to research and these new communities will get to know The Hormel Institute.”

For the 2015 Paint the Town Pink – which was the 5th annual initiative – about $191,000 overall was raised in Austin and nearby communities, including Adams, Brownsdale and Rose Creek, to go 100 percent directly into cutting-edge breast cancer research projects at The Hormel Institute.

That overall fundraising amount put Paint the Town Pink at more than $553,000 raised over five years for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute. Paint the Town Pink started in 2011 with the only event being the Austin Bruins’ inaugural Paint the Rink Pink hockey game that raised about $22,000. Featuring pink ice and pink Bruins jerseys auctioned off after the game, Paint the Rink Pink has been an annual sellout of about 2,000 people at Riverside Arena and raised more than $150,000 in five years.

In 2016, the Austin Bruins’ 6th annual Paint the Rink Pink game will be on Feb. 6th against Coulee Region.

After raising more than $59,000 earlier this year, the 4th annual Plunging for Pink polar plunge will gather again Jan. 30 at East Side Lake for the highly popular event organized by the Austin Vision 2020 Waterways Committee. In the past two years, Plunging for Pink has drawn more than 200 plungers and has raised about $114,000 overall in three years.

A second annual Snowmobile Speed Run also will take place once again on the same day as the plunge at East Side Lake.

The 3rd annual Smashing Cancer Demolition Derby organized by the Mower County Fair Board is slated for Feb. 14 at the Mower County Fairgrounds’ grandstand.

Details for many other PTTP fundraisers – new and returning events – will be announced when dates and plans have been finalized over the coming months.

This month, several PTTP fundraisers are happening, including this Saturday, Oct. 3, with the “Hunt for a Cure” pheasant hunt near LeRoy, Minn., organized by the Mower County Habitat & Pheasants Forever chapter.

On Oct. 10, Hoot & Ole’s will host its one-year anniversary bean bag tournament as part of its year-round fundraising for its Plunging for Pink plunge team. Hoot & Ole’s was the top fundraising team at last year’s plunge.

The Austin Runnings store once again will host a Ladies Night event Oct. 21 to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute.

Brownsdale’s Paint the Town Pink initiative will offer its 3rd annual “Run with the Breast of Us” 5K run/walk on Oct. 31 at the Brownsdale Elementary School.

B&J Bar and Grill has started PTTP fundraising again with raffles every Sunday for Vikings jerseys and other items.

Area farmers also plan to raise support for PTTP at local grain elevators during harvest this fall as part of the 2nd annual “Corn for the Cure” effort.

Last weekend, the inaugural Paint the Patch Pink event at Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch in rural Austin offered two days of pink pumpkins and activities as part of a new PTTP fundraiser.

For all details on PTTP events, go online to The Hormel Institute’s website – – and click on the PTTP link at the top or go to Paint the Town Pink’s Facebook page at

Funds raised in 2011 and 2012 through PTTP went toward acquiring technology to accelerate breast cancer research. Donations the past three years have been distributed as “seed” grants through an application process open only to researchers at The Hormel Institute for new breast cancer projects. These funds greatly help researchers try out new ideas and gather preliminary data to greatly assist them in applying for major research grants.

Breast cancer, which predominantly affects women but also is diagnosed in men in about 2,000 new cases annually – is the most common type of cancer in the United States when excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers and the second-leading cause of death by cancer, with more than 40,000 deaths estimated per year.

Anyone who has ideas or is interested in participating in the 2016 PTTP is encouraged to contact Kathi Finley at 507-460-0259 or by email at