A Wild Time at the Detroit Zoo is Back In-Person and Virtually

By: Karen Dybis | May 18, 2021

Photo Courtesy of Shades of Pink.

Raising funds for a worthy cause, hanging out with family and friends at the Detroit Zoo and supporting a great nonprofit all at the same time? That is what the Shades of Pink Foundation has planned for this year’s “A Wild Time at the Detroit Zoo” both online and in-person. 

A Wild Time at the Detroit Zoo is the Shades of Pink’s largest annual fund-raising event. The walk helps the organization raise funds for families who have been affected by breast cancer and the costs associated with its treatment. 

Shades of Pink Foundation holds its annual A Wild Time at the Detroit Zoo event each spring, and it is excited to hold this family-fun event for all ages, organizers said. It is offering both an in-person event as well as a way to be a virtual walker for those with health or coronavirus-related concerns. 

The event is from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak. Registration is required. Adults are $45, children ages 6-17 are $35 and kids ages 2-5 are $20 to register. Virtual walkers are $25, and this participation level is for those who don’t feel comfortable attending the actual event but would still like to fundraise for it. 

Sponsors include the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers as well as the Hematology Oncology Consultants PC, DSSI and Juice Plus. The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers has sponsored the walk for 9 years now and will continue to honor the organization as well as those who support it through these fund-raising efforts. 

Shades of Pink Executive Director Karla Sherry said they have room for up to 900 walkers this year. Teams who have already signed up have raised anywhere from $600 to more than $5,000 for the event, which will be live streamed on Facebook for people to watch.

“Women from Florida, Chicago, Kansas City and New York are all coming in for this event,” Sherry said. “There’s amazing comradery among the walkers. … It’s a show of support for all of the women who have had financial difficulty after a breast-cancer diagnosis. It goes to show what a group of individuals can do to support others in our community.” 

As a Michigan charity, the Shades of Pink Foundation seeks to help women who reside and are undergoing treatment in Southeast Michigan, which includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Genesee, Monroe, Lapeer, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties.

Found in 2005, the Shades of Pink Foundation seeks to help people who have breast cancer as they go through treatment. Its premise centers around the idea that no breast-cancer patient “should have to choose between paying the mortgage or for life-saving medical treatment,” organizers said. 

For the past 11 years, the Shades of Pink Foundation has been raising funds for people going through breast cancer, whether they are newly diagnosed, going through treatment or in recovery. An estimated one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and female breast cancer is the leading type of new cancer diagnosed annually in Michigan. 

According to the Shades of Pink Foundation, breast cancer patients average about $3,000 in out-of-pocket non-medical expenses annually. Moreover, about 50% of breast cancer patients face financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis, including those with insurance.

Of the Michigan residents diagnosed with breast cancer, some 3,200 will face “significant difficulty paying health costs.” An estimated 2,640 will have problems affording necessary cancer medications, forcing 1,840 patients to cut pills in half or skip doses. And 2,000 will use up all of their personal savings for medical bills and 800 will be forced to file for bankruptcy.

Since its founding, the Shades of Pink Foundation has distributed more than $1.8 million in grants. Grant applications are reviewed and approved on a need basis. There is no income requirement. 

If you are interested in the program, you should contact the social worker where you are receiving care to assist you with filling out an application. If you have not worked with SOPF before, contact shadesofpinkfoundation@comcast.net so the Shades of Pink Foundation can provide more information about its application process. All referrals must come through a health care professional.