October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink is its symbol — and the color of roses. What better way, Diana Kuen thought, to commemorate all of the warriors, past and present, who have been impacted by breast cancer than to turn the Saugatuck River pink?
And at the same time, raise money for charity.
That was not an idle notion. Diana is the director and head coach of the Survive-OARS — Saugatuck Rowing Club’s breast cancer survivor rowing program.
So last year, right before sunset, anyone who purchased rose petals was invited to scatter them. High tide carried them — biodegradable and freeze-dried — out to the Sound.
Proceeds benefited the Saugatuck Survive-OARS program, in partnership with the Smilow Family Breast Health Center at Norwalk Hospital.
Diana wanted an encore this year. The COVID pandemic made planning a tad tougher.
But — as breast cancer survivors know — perseverance pays off.
So this Saturday (October 3, 1 to 4 p.m.), the 2nd annual River of Roses will rock the town.
There’s live music. Chef Paul’s famous clam chowder, lobster bisque and butternut squash soup, charcuterie, hummus and apple strudel.
And more. Read on.
Around 2:30 p.m. — as rowers read names of breast cancer warriors past and present — they’ll scatter rose petals again.
The event will be livestreamed on the Saugatuck Rowing Club website.
There are plenty of opportunities to help. Tickets are $75 each (with assigned seating). Rose petals are $25.
Saugatuck Survive-OARS has teamed up with a fierce group of young female entrepreneurs — the #SewSisters in Norwalk — to create and sell pink face masks.
Click here for tickets, rose petals and/or masks.
All of that would make Diana Kuen and the Survive-OARS our Unsung Heroes of the Week.
But there are more.
In addition to the food and drink mentioned above, Donut Crazy — which did the same thing last year — said they’d donate a couple of hundred pink frosted donuts.
This has been a very tough year for the shop at the eastbound side of the train station.
They closed for a few months during the heart of the pandemic. Now rail traffic — their bread and butter — is non-existent. Donut Crazy is absolutely an Unsung Hero.
So is Copps Island. They’re contributing 300 oysters, with joy.
When Diane realized she needed a shucker, she asked Rachel Precious — the deliciously named owner of Precious Oysters — if she was available for hire.
Rachel replied quickly — volunteering her services. She’s a Staples High School graduate, a rower — and her cousin was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Rachel is an Unsung Hero too.
And how about a shout-out to Moët Hennessy USA. They’re sponsoring the River of Roses, and providing complimentary Chandon Rosé (of course).
Our list of Unsung Heroes would not be complete without including all the women everywhere, who fight their own battles with breast cancer, while reaching out to help others.
This month is for you. And Saturday is your special day.