WVU Cancer Institute’s Pink Party raises $80K to benefit Bonnie’s Bus

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute’s 2021 Pink Party raised more than $80,000 to benefit Bonnie’s Bus, a mobile mammography unit that provides life-saving breast cancer screenings for women in West Virginia.

1.	Members of the Bobby Nicholas Band (descending, from top), emcee Lauren Boczek and WVU President E. Gordon Gee participate in the 2021 Pink Party.
Members of the Bobby Nicholas Band (descending, from top), emcee Lauren Boczek and WVU President E. Gordon Gee participate in the 2021 Pink Party.

Originally slated to be held in person at the newly renovated Hotel Morgan, the Sept. 20 event was ultimately conducted via professional livestream – for the second year in a row – to ensure the health and safety of all participants. The $80,295 fundraising total topped last year’s virtual Pink Party tally by more than $20,000. 

Participants enjoyed a program featuring touching stories, live entertainment, prize giveaways, and more. Event highlights included remarks from WVU President E. Gordon Gee and First Lady Laurie Erickson, who addressed the audience during a check-in with attendees, and music by The Bobby Nicholas Band, which had viewers dancing at home. Lauren Boczek served as emcee.

The Pink Party’s online auction, which ran for four days ending shortly after the live event, drew a record sum that contributed to the event’s overall fundraising total. 

“Particularly when we consider that this year’s event was hosted virtually, the fundraising achieved for Bonnie’s Bus is noteworthy,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute, said. “The generous monetary contributions, in-kind gifts, and auction bidding reflect a growing community of support to benefit this extraordinarily important program for the WVU Cancer Institute. We commend all those who exuded the true spirit of philanthropy by supporting the Bus despite a traditional party. Continued donor support such as this ensures that Bonnie’s Bus continues to provide life-saving screenings for both women and men across the state.”

All proceeds from The Pink Party benefit Bonnie’s Bus, which has provided more than 21,500 mammograms to West Virginia women and detected over 115 cases of breast cancer since 2009. Many patients who take advantage of Bonnie’s Bus live in rural parts of the state where access to screening mammography is limited or unavailable.

“Patients have come to depend on the services of Bonnie’s Bus and look forward to it coming to their community every year,” Jenny Ostien, director of mobile screening for the WVU Cancer Institute, said. “We hear repeatedly that patients would not be able to get a mammogram if it wasn’t for Bonnie's Bus. Knowing that we can ease access to healthcare drives us to work harder to reach even more people across the state.”

The Bus was created in honor of Bonnie Wells Wilson, the mother of founding donor Jo Statler. Wilson lived in rural West Virginia and did not have convenient access to mammography screening. She died from breast cancer in 1992. 

Jo Statler, along with husband Ben, served as title sponsors for this year’s Pink Party.

To donate to Bonnie’s Bus, visit Give.WVU.edu/WVUCancerInstitute, or contact Director of Development Cory Chambers at cchambers@wvuf.org. All contributions are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.