Pamper Me Pink saved Emma Pomerleau’s life.
Wiping away tears, the thyroid and breast cancer survivor thanked Pepperberries’ Sharon Welch Clark for starting the Pamper Me Pink fund 16 years ago - and told her tale of survival during a panel discussion at the annual event.
This year’s Pamper Me Pink, hosted by Pepperberries and Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center for the 14th year, once again pampered women of Culpeper, introduced them to area providers and connected them with cancer survivors who told their success stories of being treated in Culpeper.
Pomerleau, who has lived in Culpeper for five years, was diagnosed several years ago with thyroid cancer. Last year, she started to see symptoms again and thought it was back - instead it was breast cancer. Her grandmother had breast cancer and after genetic testing it was discovered that her family carries a gene that makes them susceptible to several strands of the disease.
As she and fellow survivors Jon Carter, Scott Kurtzman and Annie White told their stories, Pomerleau leaned over to Clark and tearfully thanked her.
“If it wasn't for Pamper Me Pink, I wouldn’t have known I had cancer,” she said.
Pomerleau explained she had insurance, but the mammogram wasn’t covered. She filled out the Pamper Me Pink fund paperwork and a few weeks later was called back into the office - when they discovered the breast cancer.
“If it wasn’t for your program they wouldn’t have found it so early and it could have been much worse,” she said.
Clark was quick to deflect praise, it’s not her program she said - it’s the communities. She pointed to the more than 400 in attendance and said it’s because of donations from community members that keep the fund going that has helped more than 600 people receive mammograms in Culpeper.
Prior to the presentations, Clark greeted people at the door - hugging them and reconnecting.
She said that Pamper Me Pink brings together people that might only see each other once a year at the event - and they all share a special bond.
For Pomerleau, that bond saved her life.