First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
Governor, First Lady Honor Breast Cancer Survivors at 15th Annual Celebration of Hope

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, May 02, 2012  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

2012 Celebration held at Kentucky Horse Park, includes more than 1,000 participants

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear today joined more than 1,000 participants to honor breast cancer survivors at the 15th Annual Celebration of Hope. For the first time in its history, the event was held at the world-renowned Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

“Breast cancer afflicts thousands of women every year and touches thousands more who have a friend or family member with the disease,” said Gov. Beshear. “This luncheon is a tribute to the endurance and determination of breast cancer survivors and gives us the opportunity to celebrate their lives and admirable accomplishments.”

“The Celebration of Hope has truly become a cherished tradition for Kentuckians since First Lady Judi Patton founded the event,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I am thrilled that so many survivors and their guests could join us at the Kentucky Horse Park for this year’s extraordinary event. We will continue to be inspired by their strength and resilience in battling this deadly disease.”

Former First Lady Judi Patton started the Celebration of Hope 15 years ago to celebrate breast cancer survivors and to help educate Kentuckians about the risks of the disease. This event brings together survivors, advocates, and their friends and families. Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women — both nationally and in Kentucky.

Louisville native Rachel Helson, an actor, author, producer and philanthropist, was the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebration. At the age of 23, Helson has already produced and starred in Broadway’s Rocky Horror Picture Show and is the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Tony as a Broadway producer. Having had several family members diagnosed with breast cancer, Helson has been involved for many years as a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. She has worked to raise more than $100,000 for breast cancer research and offered a unique perspective on her personal and professional involvement with the disease.

“I applaud First Lady Jane Beshear for carrying on the tradition of the Celebration of Hope and its mission to honor Kentucky’s breast cancer survivors,” Helson said. “As a member of a family who has been touched by this horrible disease and as a young philanthropist, I am truly inspired by her passion and hard work to give a voice to so many across the Commonwealth.”

The event also included a parade of more than 20 equine breeds, a fashion style show presented by Images Modeling Agency and special remarks by Darius Miller, a member of the 2012 National Champion University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. Guests also enjoyed a brunch featuring Kentucky Proud products.

Holding true to the “pink” theme of breast cancer awareness, the tables in the Alltech Arena were decorated with pink and red cloths, floral arrangements and wooden jockeys. More than 100 volunteers assisted with the event, including members of the Thursday Group, which consists of breast cancer survivors.

In addition to the various local vendors showcasing jewelry, clothes, books and other items for celebration attendees, Horses and Hope set up a booth providing breast cancer health and screening information. Horses and Hope is an organization founded by Mrs. Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program that works with the state’s equine industry to provide breast cancer education, screening and treatment referral.