Special Ways to Honor Survivors and Remember Loved Ones

by Sue Dockstader – Rally Ambassador & Contributing Blogger

August 12, 2016

Pelican Sound Survivors Cropped PhotoWhen hosting a Rally for the Cure® event, it is important for all those attending to keep the Rally cause top of mind, so the day is not just a blur of golf or tennis. Honoring attendees who are breast cancer survivors, and remembering those lost to this dreadful disease, will add extra impact to your event by reinforcing the reason to Rally.

Finding a meaningful and sensitive way to include this recognition can be challenging. Some survivors are very private about their cancer journey and have no wish to draw attention to themselves. Others are motivated to share their experience as a way to support those going through treatment, and celebrate their enthusiasm for life as a survivor.

Assessing your audience will be key. If you are hosting a survivor breakfast, you will know that everyone who attends is comfortable sharing their status as a survivor. Featuring a “roll call” of cancer free years will draw sympathetic applause and hugs for the one-year survivor and riotous cheers for the 30- year cancer veteran. Vibrant pink “I am a survivor” t-shirts will be a hit with this crowd, as will a thoughtful gift for the oldest survivor.

When you host a Rally golf or tennis breast cancer awareness and fundraising event, you are likely to attract survivors, their friends and family, as well as those who have lost family members. There will also be participants with no direct connection to breast cancer, other than wanting to support the cause. In such a mixed group, you may want to consider more indirect ways to honor those in your midst who have been touched by breast cancer.


Here are Some Ideas to Consider:Lantana IN MEMORY OF close up


Recognizing Individual Survivors:

– Offer all survivors a rose, a small pin to wear, or a special t-shirt.

– Tie a pink ribbon on golf carts or tennis bags to honor participating survivors.

– Assemble a special “swag bag” for distribution to survivors in attendance.

– Tie a pink bow to survivors’ mailboxes during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

– Ask a survivor to share her story as a speaker at your event, or ask a spouse to talk about their journey as caregiver.


Recognizing Survivors Or Remembering Loved Ones At Your Event:

– Create a noticeboard where all participants can pin photos, or attach post-it notes in celebration of survivors or in remembrance of loved ones lost.

– Use the same idea to create a display of photos hanging from branches arranged as a table centerpiece, or from a tree on the course.

– Assemble photos or cards with names into a square to create a paper quilt.

– Devote a page in your event program, use a chalk board, or make a decorative poster to list names as a way to honor survivors or remember lives lost. If you are more high tech, make a video presentation of names and photos to show on a big screen TV. Make this a fundraiser by asking for a donation to have a dedication included.

– Display customized court banners (for tennis) or lawn signs (for golf) with photos, messages of encouragement or in remembrance of those who lost their battle. Charge a premium for the banners and signs as a fundraiser.

– Name your event, or an element of it, in memory of a lost neighbor – ‘Suzi’s Putting Contest’.


Finding the right way to honor these special people at your event will take some ingenuity, but knowing that one in eight of your female participants will be affected by breast cancer will fuel your creativity and help you choose an appropriate form of recognition.