MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute celebrated the 15-year anniversary of the ribbon-cutting that launched Bonnie’s Bus at the 2023 Pink Party, which raised a record $162,616 to support the mobile mammography unit.
More than 200 people gathered Monday (Sept. 25) at Cosmo in Morgantown for the signature event. The festivities included raffles, a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and an appearance by WVU Mountaineer Mascot Mikel Hager.
Attendees, sponsors, and other supporters topped last year’s fundraising tally by more than $40,000 to set a new record. All proceeds from the Pink Party benefit Bonnie’s Bus, which provides lifesaving breast cancer screening to patients in all 55 West Virginia counties.
“Our mission, our true north, is to improve the health trajectory of the state of West Virginia, but that’s very challenging to do in a rural state like this,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “Support for programs like Bonnie’s Bus helps us reach every nook and cranny around the state.”
WVU officials first unveiled Bonnie’s Bus at a ribbon-cutting event in fall 2008 with support from founding donors Jo and Ben Statler. The Bus is named for Jo’s mother, Bonnie Wells Wilson, who lived in rural West Virginia and did not have convenient access to mammography screening. Wilson died from breast cancer in 1992.
“It was the brilliant idea of the Statler family to reach the nooks and crannies of West Virginia, and it’s a concept that the WVU Cancer Institute has moved forward in a variety of ways,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute, Jean and Laurence DeLynn Chair of Oncology, and associate professor of surgery at the WVU School of Medicine, said. “Bonnie’s Bus has always been and will always be the beginning and the gold standard for everything we do when it comes to mobile screening and outreach.”
A video presentation at the Pink Party highlighted the impact of Bonnie’s Bus, which has provided over 29,000 mammograms and detected more than 165 cases of breast cancer since its inception.
“So many women were so thankful that the Bus was able to come to their area because a lot of women, they didn’t have transportation, they didn’t have any means to get there to get their mammogram. This made such a big impact on a lot of the women in West Virginia,” former administrative secretary Patty Ward said. “To the donors and to the supporters, I would say please, please keep it up. We can still reach a lot more women. We have helped so many women with your support and your donations.”
The Statlers were presenting sponsors for this year’s Pink Party. Generous support was also provided by title sponsors Howard Hanna Premier Properties by Barbara Alexander, J.F. Allen Company, Eric and Sherry Belldina and friends, and Reita Hall, in memory of Hubert Wells, along with many other contributors.
To learn more about supporting Bonnie’s Bus, visit WVUCancer.org/Giving or contact Director of Annual Giving Stephanie McCandless at email@example.com for more information. All contributions are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University and its affiliated entities.