The pink ribbon pin that Cindi Crisci wears close to her heart is a joyous yet solemn reminder. She fought breast cancer and won, and has been cancer free for 10 years.
But the battle continues until there is a cure. Crisci and "Team Tough Tatas" are in it for the long haul.
"We continue to make strides, but we cannot stop the fight," Crisci said.
Today, the team of mostly breast cancer survivors will host a tea party and shopping extravaganza. Sip and Shop will take place at the American Cancer Society building in Pinellas Park.
"The Sip and Shop tea will be a wonderful afternoon to browse many vendors and raise money for a great cause," Crisci, of St. Petersburg, said.
In a Victorian-type setting, guests will enjoy finger foods and teas both hot and iced. PartyLite, the Pampered Chef, Avon, Arbonne, Lia Sophia Jewelry, SunGoddess Soaps, and Handmade Jewelry by Joy will make their offerings available to visitors. Each vendor will donate part of the proceeds to Team Tough Tatas, one of many squads that will participate in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 17 in North Straub Park.
Money raised will go toward free local programs and services, research, advocacy, and promotion of early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
One of the signature support programs of the American Cancer Society is Reach to Recovery, in which breast cancer survivors talk to newly diagnosed patients. Crisci benefited from the program.
"I received a Reach to Recovery visit, and it made a world of difference of how I handled my own diagnosis," she said.
Crisci, who is the area patient services representative for the American Cancer Society, said she believes things happen for a reason.
"After two surgeries, 12 chemotherapy sessions and 37 radiation treatments, I really felt like I accomplished something," she said. "When I was eligible, I became a volunteer with the Reach to Recovery program. I wanted to help other breast cancer patients. I felt it was the least I could do."
Now, she and her teammates are raising their teacups to generate donations and create awareness to end this disease. Their logo: two pink boxing gloves. Their slogan: "Fight like a girl."
If you go - Sip and Shop
Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
When:1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today.
Where: American Cancer Society, 4801 86th Ave., Pinellas Park.
Cost: Admission, tea and snacks are free. Merchandise available for sale.
For information: Call (727) 812-7028.
The American Cancer Society is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.