Virtually Painted Pink at the Annual Bruncheon!


On October 18, 2020, Painted Pink Inc. hosted its 7th Annual Painted Pink Bruncheon! This year’s theme was Designated Survivor: Outliving and Outlasting Your Trials. Due to the current pandemic, the event was held virtually via Hopin for the first time in its history. Nevertheless, it was an afternoon to remember.

The event kicked off with a virtual Pink Carpet Pre-Bruncheon Live on Instagram hosted by Precious K. Williams of Simply Passionate Life. Guests were asked to rock their most fabulous pink attire in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. DJ Clottey kicked off the event by spinning some of the crowd’s favorite jams while everyone took the time to network with one another. Being in an online setting didn’t stop the photo ops! Guests had the chance to show off their brunch best by using the virtual photo booth by Candid Moments Photobooth to take photos, gifs, and bursts.

After a moment of dancing, flicking it up, and getting acquainted, the ladies of Painted Pink greeted the audience. There to welcome the event were the Board of Directors, Ann-Marie Appiah Swatson (President), Manica Pierrette, and Amaris Appiah. The ladies engaged the audience by encouraging everyone to declare the mission of Painted Pink out loud.

“I am a Designated Survivor, outliving, and outlasting my trials.”

The real excitement began when the guest speakers were introduced and brought on to share their stories. Attendees had the chance to hear from four powerful women who are all fighting with faith: Clorena Story, Jasmine Souers, Ilyasha Hood, and Jessica Florence. Manica facilitated the discussion and started things off by asking the speakers their views on what it means to be a designated survivor. The ladies dived into their answers ranging from the strength they’ve developed from motherhood to their personal drive to keep going daily. Each speaker had a unique story of how they were diagnosed with cancer and how it is impacting their lives today. From clinical trials to being misdiagnosed, these ladies have experienced a wide range of circumstances that many others can relate to as well.

The conversation shifted to the topic of the medical field’s disparities as it relates to Black women and breast health. Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer and are not always receiving the best care compared to other groups of women. “We are getting treatments that are primarily tested on white women,” stated Jasmine as she described the lack of treatments and care specifically designed for Black women. As the discussion progressed, the topic of expenses caused emotions to rise amongst the group. Jessica shared her current financial circumstances and battles with insurance coverage, which is, unfortunately, the case for many Black women living with breast cancer. “My standard of care is not going to be the same as another race,” she said.

Despite the lack of resources for Black women and the financial burden of health care, the speakers expressed their reasons for pressing forward. “Cancer is not going to take me away from my babies,” said Clorena. She believes she is still here to fight without boundaries due to her daughters. When asked why Black health matters, Ilyasha’s answer was straight to the point, “We’re dying.” Because of this fact, she believes it is essential for her to continue to share her journey with others as a source of help and inspiration.

The ladies left the audience with beautiful words of wisdom and advice for those who may be experiencing similar circumstances. “Anchor yourself in faith,” said Jasmine as she discussed the importance of maintaining your mental health and well-being. She also encouraged everyone to be their best advocate, ask questions, and pursue doctors who are willing to provide the proper answers. She feels it is important to speak up and seek second opinions. Jessica’s parting advice was to become your own author and historian by documenting everything from your doctors’ reports to your daily feelings. She went on to recommend creating a “sister circle” for support and sharing your story with others.

“Choose happy,” said Clorena, who lives by the belief that what you do while you’re here matters. Her daily reminder to herself is to do what makes her happy instead of sitting in misery and going over the what-ifs. Ilyasha shared that her spirituality is what has kept her going. She left the audience with the nugget to stay grounded in faith throughout this journey.

After a quick music break, the Bruncheon continued with a special presentation on breast health in Black women from Erin Bowman, MD FACS, Breast Surgical Oncologist with Atlanta Breast Care. During Dr. Bowman’s presentation, she shared many vital statistics regarding breast cancer in Black women. Her key points covered risk factors, how family history plays a role, and the importance of screening all women. She shed light on the health disparities found in the screening options, health care, treatments, insurance coverage, etc. Guests had the chance to view significant breast cancer trends and rates compared to other races of women.

Painted Pink’s Board of Directors brought the event to a close by presenting awards to three women who are making a tremendous impact on the lives surrounding them. The first award of the event, the Millennial Warrior Award, was presented to Jasmine Soeurs for her graceful fight and inspiration to others. The Designated Survivor Award was presented to Ilyasha Hood, a woman who exhibits the true definition of the theme, “Outliving and Outlasting Your Trials.” Lastly, DeShon Green was presented with the Purposely Pink award for her commitment to serving in many volunteer capacities within the organization.

The Bruncheon wrapped up with more networking while the DJ continued to bring the tunes. Thank you to all who attended and supported the event in any way! A special thank you to those who sponsored the event by donating funds, raffle prizes, and more. We’ll see you next year!

How to Support Painted Pink Inc.

Are you interested in supporting Painted Pink’s initiatives beyond the Bruncheon? Here’s how you can help:

  • Sponsor a Care Kit
  • Make an In Kind Donation
  • Shop our Etsy Shop
  • Connect us with platforms to raise awareness
  • Share, tag, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram