J.U.G.S. Pink Ball fights cancer with fantasy, fun and yum

2012 Pink Ball runway show participants express their creativity and address the tribal theme with hair, makeup and clothing.

2012 Pink Ball runway show participants express their creativity and address the tribal theme with hair, makeup and clothing. Photo courtesy of Melissa Brown

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Past Event

Pink Ball

  • Saturday, March 2, 2013, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Walla Walla County Fairgrounds, 363 Orchard St , Walla Walla
  • 21+ / $50 - $75

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J.U.G.S. founder and president Amy Vixie, left, works on runway model Marika Tompkins for the upcoming Pink Ball. Tompkins, who teaches wellness dance, will participate in the event's runway show while made up as a doll.

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A model walks the runway at the 2012 Pink Ball.

WALLA WALLA — Strength. Hope. Cure. Awareness.

And one crazy, fantastical night.

The first four words are the motto of “Just Us Girls Sharing,” known as J.U.G.S., a nonprofit group founded in 2009 to join the local battle against cancer.

And “crazy, fantastical” is how its annual Pink Ball looks, organizers and fans say.

The extravaganza is March 2, beginning at 6:15 p.m. with a VIP reception, and at 7 p.m. for general admission at the Walla Walla County Fair and Frontier Days pavilion.

J.U.G.S. bills itself as a diverse group of people with a common goal to help people in the community.

And Pink Ball, now in it’s third year, is the primary fundraiser for the organization.

Money brought in at the event goes to a dedicated account to help Walla Walla Valley cancer victims on a personal level, J.U.G.S. founder Amy Vixie said. “It’s kind of a last-straw, as-needed fund.”

Such needs can include buying a functional washer and dryer, Christmas presents for a mom who is too ill to do it herself, getting a Thanksgiving dinner together, paying for gas needed to get to appointments or the rent, she added.

Angela Farrow, 41, understands how those needs can pile up. The mother of two was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2009 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy.

A year earlier her younger sister was diagnosed with the disease, she added. “We weren’t even old enough to start mammograms.”

Cancer imposes unexpected financial burdens on its victims that Pink Ball proceeds can ease a bit, Farrow pointed out.

“Last year, one of the survivors received money right there. She was younger, with a lot of children, and she just needed help.

“When you’re going through treatment, you can’t work, or you keep missing work. These young moms are trying to take care of kids still, because that doesn’t just suddenly stop.”

It can be an ugly time in a woman’s life, as well, she said. “You have no breasts and you’re bald. You look like something from ‘Future World.’”

What J.U.G.S. does to change that picture for women is priceless, she feels.

“What Amy did for me, she actually came to my home and showed me how to take these little hair extensions and stitch them into a hat, so it looks like you have hair. I just couldn’t wear a wig. She really made the extra effort.”

Cancer stinks, but there’s nothing saying people can’t have fun while helping the cause, noted Pink Ball chairwoman Traci Jensen. Take this year’s menu, for example.

Andrae’s Kitchen will be plating up mini fish tacos, crostini, hummus made with locally-grown garbanzo bears, orzo salad, Korean-style Bulgoi beef, couscous, Halal-style chicken and more.

Dessert tops thing off with apple crisp made with Washington-grown apples and liquor-infused whipped cream.

Dinner is followed by a fashion runway show sponsored by local stores but there is a new twist for 2013, Jensen said.

“This year we’ve included an on stage fantasy hair challenge.”

Borrowing “strength” from the four pillars of the organization’s mission statement, salon stylists will interpret the word in their hair design, she said. “The winner will be by audience vote.”

The runway show lets the participating salons “go a little more crazy. They have more fantasy and costuming,” she explained. “It amazes me what people can do with hair.”

The survivor tribute — which Farrow was part of in 2012 — is a time to show how beautiful all women are, cancer or no, Jensen said. “And it’s time for us to really thank and honor them.”

Ball attendees can also jump into the photo booth, buy wine labeled for the occasion from Something Big Cellars and be part of a bra auction, made up of entries from local businesses, Vixie said.

“It can be either a literal bra or an artistic expression of a bra, and those are paired with merchandise from their business.”

Tickets — $50 general seating, $75 VIP seating and $500 VIP table of eight — are available at Bliss, Holly’s Flowers, C Salon and Four Feathered Sparrow Spa. For more information call 525-2001.

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