For Monique Johnson and Grace-Ann Acocello-Pensiero pink is more than just a color. To the pair, the rosy hue represents awareness, hope and life, and they’re urging everyone to get in the pink.
In 2007, Johnson and Acocello-Pensiero established "In The Pink Foundation, Inc.," a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing social programming and emotional support to young women with breast cancer.
Monique Johnson and Grace-Ann Acocello-Pensiero
The organization also serves to educate the public and increase awareness about the special needs and issues facing young women with breast cancer.
But their efforts aren’t just because it’s "for a good cause." The women met during their bi-weekly chemotherapy treatments and looked to each other for support and developed a deep friendship. Now both survivors, they are taking the encouragement they gave to each other and are giving it to other women affected by the disease.
"Grace and I started the foundation in order to help ourselves and other young women deal with the emotional aspects of living with cancer," said Johnson. "We know that having cancer affects every part of your life. We are also aware that the issues facing young adults with cancer are unique and often not addressed by the medical and cancer communities."
To increase awareness and maintain a source of support in the community, In The Pink hosts programs and events such as Support Group which meets at Gilda’s Club Westchester in White Plains from 6:30 pm to 8 pm every third Thursday of the month. The next meeting is Feb. 21. On March 1, from 4 pm to 8 pm, In The Pink and Salon De Beauté in Scarsdale are hosting a Woman’s Night of Pampering. "A girls night out," all women are invited to come and indulge in a variety of spa services such as manicures, massages and facials. In addition, there will be special presentations on wig management and make-up applications for women who are currently receiving chemotherapy treatments.
"This is a special event to help women with cancer feel good," said Johnson. "Breast cancer and treatment for it, often strip women of their ability to feel like a woman – to feel attractive and whole. I, firsthand, felt these feelings of ugliness, sadness and isolation. We want to give women a night to feel pampered and treated like the beautiful people they still are. We also want them to still feel connected, comfortable, and able to socialize with other women who don’t have cancer – that is why we have invited all women to attend."
Acocello-Pensiero envisions the evening as “a chance for women and their girlfriends to indulge in a little well-deserved pampering. It’s time to take care of ourselves; I am a true believer. Look good, feel good! This was my motto during my chemo treatments. I always made sure I was dressed and fixed myself up. It truly made me feel better.”
Women affected by breast cancer can receive all services for free and all other women must pay a $30 fee which will go towards In The Pink’s programs. Walk-ins are welcome but it is encouraged to make an appointment. To RSVP please call Salon De Beauté at 914-725-6135. And for more information on In The Pink’s programs and their upcoming events, call their hotline at 914-764-5400.
Angelique Chielli, in her free time, sits on the Board of Directors for In The Pink Foundation, Inc. and is responsible for their public relations. You can e-mail her at AChielli@westfairinc.com.