MATHIS – Since 2018, outspoken breast cancer survivor Deborah Buchanan has spearheaded the ‘Pink Out Mathis’ event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. She encourages all businesses  and residents to decorate their building with any pink items to show their support.

But this year is different.

While  Buchanan still wants Mathis to turn pink next month, she’s unable to do any fundraising and won’t be hitting the streets to promote the event in her signature cowgirl boots and bubbly, caring personality that has made her a community staple.

“When I do go out I’m getting air hugs a lot, but it’s not the same thing,” Buchanan said. “You don’t realize how much you get out of simple things like hugs –  what I was getting out of it. It’s almost like a withdrawal from a drug. That’s the way I describe it to people.

“It’s hard especially for those that I’ve interacted with or been a part of their breast cancer journey and now I can’t even hug them.”

She also celebrated five years cancer free on Sept. 11.

She added that groups like First Friday and Breast Friends are going to really need support during the month of October because there has been no way to get out and hold fundraisers like they have year after year.

Breast Friends has been going strong for seven years and is the only organization that gives out prosthetic bras for breast cancer patients in South Texas who have lost their breasts due to breast cancer.

“There’s hardly anywhere for women to get a prosthetic,” Breast Friends organizer Amy Goldson said. “And if you don’t have insurance you’re totally out of luck, but even with insurance it’s still impossible to find somewhere so we filled that gap.

“The (American Cancer Society) does not support it so there’s no money for it, so it’s been crazy.”

Goldson said she has helped more than 800 women over the seven years the program has been around.

“The reason we are still in business with this program is through the generosity of the community,” she added. “It survives 100 percent off of donations.”

Goldson said that every dollar of every donation goes to buy more bras and prosthetics, it doesn’t pay for advertising, employees or anything else except for product.

Last year Breast Friends, through Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, were included on the list of recipients for the Coastal Bend Day of Giving which raised nearly $3 million last year for local nonprofit organizations.  

This year’s Day of Giving campaign kicks Nov. 10 and Goldson said anyone wanting to donate to the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation can do it then and their donation will be doubled.

Anyone wanting to donate can do so by mailing checks to  2882 Holly Rd., Corpus Christi, TX 78415 or by calling Goldson at 361-814-2001. More information can be found at cbwellness.org.

“Right now, one of my dear friends is going through a biopsy,” Buchanan said. “I get so emotionally involved and it’s very difficult because I can’t be there with her.

“I just don’t want Mathis to not be pink for October. We can’t forget about October.”

•pgonzales@mysoutex.com•

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