Zoo Walk to Support Cancer Patients this Saturday

By: Toni Cunningham | April 23, 2014

Picture this: you get to spend a beautiful weekend afternoon outdoors with your friends and family while supporting a great cause. This dream scene can become a reality if you sign up for the Shades of Pink Foundation’s 8th Annual A Walk at the Zoo, taking place this Saturday, April 26.

Participants will hike one, three or six miles throughout the Detroit Zoo in order to benefit the Shades of Pink Foundation (SOPF). The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is one that provides assistance to women who are finding themselves in hard times financially after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Some of those financial issues include transportation costs, childcare, insurance payments, food costs and other necessities.

Last year, the SOPF assisted more than 106 women in five local counties from 22 different institutions referred by 35 social workers. In the same year, the top five support categories courtesy of SOPF were mortgage/rent payments (55 percent), electric bills (8 percent), car payments (7 percent), car insurance (6 percent), and health insurance (6 percent).

SOPF helps women in five Metro Detroit counties, including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Genesee. In order to receive assistance, clients must be referred by a healthcare provider.

The annual “A Walk at the Zoo” event is put on each spring at the Detroit Zoo in order to keep the organization up and running and funds available for assistance. This year, you can sign up to sponsor, volunteer, donate or walk at the event.

Pre-registration is required, and you can do so up until 8:30 a.m. the morning of the walk. A brief opening ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on that Saturday, followed by the beginning of the walk (which runs until about noon).

Registration costs $45 for adults, $35 for children ages 6 to 17, $10 for children ages 2-5, and is free for children under 2 years of age. There’s also the option of participating as a “sleepwalker” (a.k.a. you choose to sleep in on Saturday morning but want to take part from home), which comes in the form of a $25 donation.

Sponsorships for “A Walk at the Zoo” begin at $100, and you can join the likes of fellow sponsors including your very own Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, Strive Creative, Hour Detroit and Garden Fresh.

Packets (including your ticket and t-shirt, if you signed up before Sunday, April 13) can be picked up the morning of the race, or before the walk on Thursday, April 24 at Art Van Furniture in Royal Oak from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Since it was founded in 2005, the Shades of Pink Foundation has provided financial assistance to a number of women in Metro Detroit going through breast cancer treatment. In the nearly 10 years that the organization has been up and running, never has a single woman asked for more assistance than she has been provided. By participating in “A Walk at the Zoo”, you will not only support SOPF’s mission statement, but you’ll essentially be putting your money into the pocket of someone who needs it.

This year, SOPF hopes to raise even more funds than in the past—the organization is stressing the loss of jobs and insurance coverage in Michigan throughout the past year, and how those issues have put even more of a burden on women with breast cancer and their families.

The goal for the 8th Annual A Walk at the Zoo is to raise $250,000. Thus far, as of press time, the organization has raked in $157,419 worth of donations. That’s just over halfway, and Shades of Pink needs your help to reach its goal!

For more information on the Shades of Pink Foundation, as well as the 8th Annual A Walk at the Zoo registration (today is the last day to register online), visit the organization’s official website or Facebook page.