By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — — The Casey Middle School “Pink Out Day” event Feb. 14 raised a total of $583 for the fight against breast cancer, said Principal Mary McGreer.
McGreer presented the money Tuesday to a group of local women who will participate in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure event Oct. 17 to 19 in Atlanta, Ga. The group will donate the money to the Komen organization.
The group's team for the walk is called the Rack Pack and it includes six members. Four of the members are from Mt. Vernon — Kathy Asbery, Amy Jones, Amanda Duncan and Alexes Sawyers.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October and that's kind of how our group got formed,” Asbery said.
Feb. 14 was the first Pink Out Day held at the Casey school. Considering the success of the event and the student response, McGreer said it's very likely the school will hold a similar fundraiser next year.
“The response was so supportive and excited by the students, it's something we definitely will look at doing next year as well,” McGreer said. “So many students came up that day and just on their own brought up family members or family friends who have suffered from breast cancer. And it got them talking about their experiences and sharing.”
During Pink Out Day, Casey students could purchase items at school or bring in a $1 donation to raise money for the Komen organization.
Many students and faculty that day also wore pink shirts in honor of breast cancer awareness.
“With Valentine's Day, we wanted to have the kids participate in something that gives back and supports the community,” McGreer said. “And many of our students have experiences with people that they love in their family who have experienced breast cancer.”
Asbery has two children who are currently attending the Casey school. She said school officials have been very supportive during her own battle with breast cancer. She is now in remission.
“That's important that they are able to talk about it,” Asbery said. “I know that the school was very receptive when I was diagnosed. … They kept a close eye on my boys.”
To take part in the Komen Walk for the Cure, individual team members each have to raise $2,300. That means a team of six has to raise a total of $13,800.
Most of the money raised from the Komen walk goes toward the organization's Research and Training Grant Program, as well as for public health outreach programs for those facing breast cancer, according to the Komen website.
Local team member Amy Jones said the importance of the walk, for her, is to support her friend, Kathy Asbery.
“I want to do something to honor her and just our girls and everyone else,” Jones said. “She's my reason.”