Pink Door: Support Sisters for Single Women with Cancer

By Tracy Morris

pic1I don’t want to whine, but if you take a look around for women’s health organizations that exist solely or even mostly to offer support specifically to single women… well, let’s just say that you won’t get a lot of return on that Google search. So when I just happened upon Pink Door through friends last summer, I was surprised and impressed. Pink Door exists because its founder, Cortney Cole, apparently inherited some of her beloved mother’s moxie and wanted something different than the normal breast cancer organizations.

Pink Door was created by Cole because of the pride she felt as she watched her mother, Gayl Ann Gronauer Cole, struggle through breast cancer while building the career she needed to support herself.

Cortney recognized that there must be thousands of women in the same boat, having to support themselves — and even re-create their working lives — while continually mustering the strength, energy, and finances to treat their disease and literally survive. As Cole puts it, “…women should not have to focus on ‘affording recovery’…”

pic2Rather than simply handing out financial assistance, Pink Door offers women who are single, divorced, or widowed the opportunities they need to spring forward in life. The brand new non-profit, formed in 2007, offers The Women In Pink Scholarship which awarded applicants can use to pursue education in the field of their choice. In addition, Survivor Recruiting Conferences are held in collaboration with area hospitals and treatment centers, providing a place where women with cancer can have exclusive access to job recruiters, plus seminars and workshops on resume development, preparing for interviews, and other career-enhancing classes.

When I volunteered to help with the silent auction at Pink Door’s first Gala, held in Houston in 2007 at the Deco Lounge, it dawned on me that the organization serves another purpose: it provides a refreshing and meaningful outlet for a lot of energetic, healthy women, too.

Houston has a lot of galas — kudos to all those (mostly) women who volunteer more hours than most of us work for a living, all in the name of keeping the non-profit balls rolling. As a former social worker, I can plainly state that a whole lot of helping would not be happening if it weren’t for this fortunate crowd of folks who spread their time and energy around to those with less opportunity. Sometimes, though, these soirees can be a tad snooty and lacking in the Pizzazz Department. The Pink Door’s Main Event Gala was not only successful, it was a blast to work and attend.

Obviously, pink attire was everywhere, and in every shape and form, from glittering minis and heels to slinky evening dresses. The silent auction had trendy and cool items – like spa weekends and wine parties and sultry art – and the food was fun and flashy. The org even has its own wine, Pink Door White Merlot, by Salud! Winery (and available on the Pink Door website.) The Frankie Moreno Band jammed and by night’s end, Frankie’s piano was auctioned off by raffle. Proceeds went to fund the scholarship program, and Cole and friends are gearing up now for a survivors’ conference and their 2008 fundraisers.

Having cancer is bad enough. Supporting yourself solo through the experience — unimaginable. Based in Houston with connections in Los Angeles and New York City, Pink Door is likely to be opening doors to a better life for women around the country for years to come.

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The Heat Is On! Tips for Keeping Cool

The Environment and Breast Cancer