By Jessica Creagan
A new fundraiser in Vero Beach will raise awareness and money for a rare form of breast cancer and research for the disease.
Searching for clues and taking photos and video around town in a scavenger hunt will be the name of the game on Sept. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. for the first ever Hunt for Hope event in Vero Beach.
The fundraiser scavenger hunt will start at Treasure Coast Family Dental in Vero Beach. A minimum donation of $25 per participant 18 and older is suggested.
Holly Hamilton, a dentist at Treasure Coast Family Dental in Vero Beach, is one of the organizers for the event and that will raise awareness and funds for inflammatory breast cancer, a cancer one of her close friends battled with for more than three years.
October is breast cancer awareness month, but it's not the only time to talk about breast cancer, said Dr. Hamilton.
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that does not normally present with a lump, is not usually detected with a mammogram and is found in many women under 40 who would not normally have a mammogram, a press release for the event said.
Cancer research is important to saving lives of loved ones and family members, but it can sometimes be hard to give financially without knowing for certain where the funds will go, Dr. Hamilton said.
"My friend Lori (Grennan), after she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, helped found a nonprofit foundation and it was very important to her that the money all went to research," Dr. Hamilton said.
While she was still fighting for her life, Ms. Grennan, along with Terry Arnold, a survivor of both traditional and inflammatory breast cancer, started the IBC Network Foundation in Texas and raised about $100,000 that have funded two cancer studies so far, Dr. Hamilton said.
"This will be the first Hunt for Hope in Vero Beach, and actually the first in Florida," she said.
"Everybody does 5k races, but this fundraiser is a little bit different. You can have teams of two to six people, and you can even do the hunt as a family," Dr. Hamilton said.
Several businesses around town are supporting the scavenger hunt and participants will have the opportunity to visit some during the event, she said. There will be prizes available for the winners and raffle prizes donated by the business community.
Early registration is encouraged, although there will be registration available on the day of the event. Participants will also receive T-shirts to commemorate the event.
"I really think it's going to be a fun thing to do for all ages," Dr. Hamilton said.
Inflammatory breast cancer is often misdiagnosed at first, as it presents as a skin infection at first and doesn't always cause pain. Frequently, the cancer is already at stage three or stage four by the time the cancer is correctly diagnosed, and has spread to other areas of the body, a press release said.
Ms. Grennan was 32 when she was diagnosed and she battled her cancer for more than three years before succumbing in January, leaving behind a husband and two young children.
The five-year survival rate for inflammatory breast cancer is much lower than other forms of breast cancer; about 34 percent compared to 87 percent, which is why funding for research is so important, Dr. Hamilton said.
To sign up, visit www.huntforhopevero.weebly.com, www.facebook.com/huntforhopevero, or call (772) 567-7510. For more information about the IBC Network Foundation, visit www.theibcnetwork.org.