SIOUX CITY – The impact Chris Rich feels toward the Sioux City Musketeers Pink In The Rink event comes in more ways than one.
The Absolute Screen Art owner has been printing the special T-shirts for the event since day one.
The 10th anniversary of the event unfolds on Saturday when the Musketeers battle the Des Moines Buccaneers inside the Tyson Events Center.
The shirts, while not always pink, will always have pink somewhere and are one way Rich gives back to the annual fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen effort.
UnityPoint Health Foundation teams with the Susan G. Komen Greater Iowa Siouxland office to help with the T-shirt drive. This year 1,200 were printed, many were pre-sold to companies to wear as a Friday “jeans day" to wear their T-shirts in support of the event.
“We are extremely thankful to be partnering with Susan G. Komen, UnityPoint St. Luke’s and the Musketeers over the last 10 years for the Pink In The Rink event,” said Rich. “The T-shirts are one of the biggest fundraisers.
“I feel like our company has a unique opportunity to help support the community in events like this to help with the costs of the T-shirts and be able to give back to the Susan G. Komen Foundation as well as many other fundraisers for cancer in the Siouxland community.”
The event's impact on Rich and her family took on a more serious meaning when her mother, Carleen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.
“It’s had a huge impact on us,” said Rich. “We were so supportive of it before it kind of touched our family. Our family and our company was supportive of Pink In The Rink before it even touched our lives, breast cancer, just because cancer had touched our lives."
Carleen, a three-time cancer survivor, and Rich were each diligent when it came to getting their mammograms and making sure to always get checked.
In January 2012, both went in and received letters back saying that they had found something suspicious and that they needed to come back for further testing.
“You get a letter in the mail and either everything is great or you know you have something come back that it looks suspicious and they want to do further testing,” said Rich. “I just remember her getting that letter and her and Dad telling me because we had (always) celebrated every year that we get the letter that everything was good.
“I got mine a week after hers, she had already gotten her letter, I remember getting my letter in the mail and it came back suspicious.
“It was kind of devastation. I got my letter and I didn’t even want to tell my parents, I didn’t want to scare them anymore, I didn’t want to tell them that I had to go in for further testing. How do you keep that from them?”
Rich and Carleen each went in for surgical biopsies a few days apart and while Rich's eventually came back clean, Carleen was diagnosed as having breast cancer.
“I remember getting out of my biopsy and being in the recovery room and my parents tell me that hers came back as breast cancer,” Rich said. “She had gone through cancer twice, if anybody had cancer this time I wanted it to be me not her.
“She’s been through enough, hers came back as breast cancer and I get my results back three days later and mine isn’t. She went through a lumpectomy, radiation, she is five years down the road, she’s doing good, she’s doing great.”
The printing of the T-shirts is just one way the Rich family gives back to the breast cancer fundraiser that took on added meaning five years ago.
“I am so grateful and blessed to still have my mother in my life and this is just another way for our family business to give back to this community as we have been given so much in life with her being a three-time survivor of cancer,” said Rich.