Every October the pink ribbons come out for Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you’re like me, you usually pick up a pink lipstick or donate a few dollars to a friend’s charity. But a little bar in West Palm Beach showed how a few people can make a big difference when it comes to raising money to fight cancer.
On October 19, teams gathered in West Palm Beach for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraiser. Almost 250 teams participated raising nearly $139,000. The top fundraising team was Team Roosters, bringing in an impressive $8,000. The team is named for Roosters bar in West Palm Beach.
Captain AJ Wasson attributes the success to teamwork.
“We had benefits, bake sales and raffles. Our patrons are very generous folks and each Monday night at Bingo we would pass the bucket and collect donations. Melissa St John and Daizee DeLuxx donated all of their tips from Saturday's show to the cause. All of our donations have not been posted yet, but our running total of contributions is $8,388.16. Next year's goal will be $15,000,” he said.
The team was made up of nearly 20 members – Roosters patrons, friends and employees. Each, with his/her own connection to breast cancer. David Simpkins was the team's largest fundraiser, collecting nearly $2,000 in donations. Simpkins works for Good Samaritan Hospital and commits his time to numerous fundraisers each year for various causes.
Theo Smith brought in nearly $600 to the team.
“You can always count on Theo to roll up his shirtsleeves and lend a hand when one is needed,” said Wasson.
Christopher St. John, a former Roosters night manager and cancer survivor needed a cane, but was excited to be able to complete the walk. Daizee DeLuxx came as himself (Derrick) this year. Last year he walked in full drag. But it’s a long 5k in heels.
The team was formed a few years ago after Wasson reflected on the support the LGBT community receives from the surrounding community in Palm Beach County.
“I started thinking about ways that we as members of the LGBT community could return that support to the larger community. I read something about an upcoming Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in West Palm. I brought the idea of organizing a team to one of our patrons, Theo Smith, and he said, "Hell Yeah, let's do it.” We contacted the American Cancer Society in Palm Beach County and Team Roosters was formed,” he tells SFGN. “The first year, the team raised nearly $1,000. Last year, donations increased and it was the third largest fundraising team. This was our best year yet.”
Wasson says the end of this year’s walk was emotional. “Martha Gilmartin, the Executive Director of the Palm Beach Chapter of the American Cancer Society and I hugged. We were both amazed that from such a humble beginning we had grown to the number 1 fundraising Team in Palm Beach,” he said.
Donations can still be made to Team Roosters by clicking this link. (Main.acsevents.org/goto/TeamRoosters) Denise Royal