Dink For Pink | Sat., Oct. 9, 2021
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. | Hammock Bay Pickle Ball Courts, Freeport
By Lori Smith
The power of pink is everywhere this October as many are aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, having experienced first-hand or been impacted in some way through family or friends—the non-profit Foye Belle Foundation is no exception. A new and fun fundraiser event, Dink for Pink, is on the scene, bringing together pickleball players, food trucks, vendors, artists, sponsors and more to raise money for small, but mighty blue bags filled with big love, hope and support—a symbol of strength and survival for cancer patients.
Hosted by the Hammock Bay Pickleball Club (HBPC), the all-day event, Sat., Oct. 9, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., will have you trying your luck at winning one of the many valuable raffle items, eating at the delicious food trucks, shopping local vendors or simply cheering on the HBPC as they dominate the courts! Up for raffle is one Estelle Grengs’ paintings titled “Green Flag Day on the Emerald Coast” donated by Estelle’s Art Studio in Freeport.
ALL proceeds benefit the Foye Belle Foundation and the mighty Blue Bag Movement conceived by Chelsea Berler, a local-area resident, who lost her short battle with aggressive breast cancer in 2018 at the age of 34.
It began when Chelsea noticed a lump under her arm, but by the time she went in for her first exam, the lump was nearly the size of a tennis ball. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of triple negative breast cancer that affects roughly 1% of people, is extremely aggressive, was at least Stage 3, if not Stage 4, and had spread to her lymph nodes that quickly.
Named after Chelsea’s grandmother who also passed from breast cancer, the Foye Belle Foundation was conceived during Chelsea’s regular chemo treatments. Each time she would go in for a treatment, Chelsea was saddened by how many people were utterly alone and unsupported. This hurt her heart to see this over and over, and she felt so fortunate to be loved and supported by her husband, family and many friends. Each time she had to have a chemo treatment, she would bring a bag of goodies to keep her occupied during the six-hour stretch, many times giving her items away to those who had nothing. Soon the idea grew to make “Blue Bags” for those less fortunate during theirs, to not only help them pass the time, but also to bring them comfort.
That was the beginning of The Foye Belle Foundation, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that packs “Blue Bags” and donates them to cancer patients actively seeking treatment. Ninety-eight percent of money raised and donated serves to pack and ship the blue bags bursting with care. The bags are blue because Chelsea felt if cancer had a color, it would be blue.
Before Chelsea passed, she developed the foundation’s website, enlisted volunteers and started packing blue bags. She wrote a book, The Yellow House on the Left, detailing her journey from pre-diagnosis to the end. It’s Chelsea’s inspiring, last chapter where she dives into what dying young taught her about living BIG. You can purchase on Amazon and the best part is 100% of proceeds go towards packing more Blue Bags.
Chelsea further documented her journey by writing several articles published by The Huffington Post, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/chelsea-930, and gave several interviews about going through the “dying process.”
But, perhaps her greatest legacy began when her husband, Mark, promised to keep “The Blue Bag Movement” going. Mark and volunteers have shipped “Blue Bags” to cancer patients throughout the U.S. and even other countries since then. Chelsea personally selected more than 20 items in each bag—each with a purpose. They range from ginger tea and candies to ease nausea to a cozy blanket, coloring book, journal, a chemo hat, socks, playing cards, lotion, lip balm, etc. The bags cost about $115 with shipping, and have become a symbol of strength for those going through chemo. Many say their “Blue Bag” has been with them from the beginning, through good times and bad, and are cherished, because they’re always there, especially so when they’re in remission.
“Another year passed,” said Mark in July on Facebook, “but your light is stronger than ever…Chelsea, your heart is with us always and all ways.”
Bags can be ordered by submitting an online request at foyebelle.org, but are so popular, sometimes requests must be delayed when funds are too low. Currently, the request form has a message saying people should check back while fundraising efforts are underway. Mark says they don’t say no to anyone; so, his goal is to never have to shut down the request form. And many partners such as Annie’s Kit Clubs are stepping up to help by donating money and items such as handmade comfort wraps.
Donations can be made also through foyebelle.org, Facebook, PayPal Giving Fund, AmazonSmile, and through T-shirt and book sales, cash donations and event fundraising.
To read more about Chelsea’s in-depth story, view or download the Oct. 2018 Destin Life edition at MyDestinLife.com. To participate in Dink for Pink, contact Event Director Courtney Blackerby at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join Bay Life in attending this worthwhile event.
“If you can take away any advice from me, it would be to stop thinking about tomorrow, or about next week or next month, just focus on today. Just keep it together today. Because right now – all you have is today.”
~ Chelsea Berler