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Tickled Pink raises money for cancer patients

By chirst
Sept. 18, 2012 at 4:18 a.m.

Aaron Janssen, a Victoria firefighter and volunteer with Guardians of the Ribbon, hugs his mother Jo during a surprise visit at her work in December, 2011. Jo died last month of breast cancer.

Tickled Pink, a new local fundraiser for women's cancers, will launch Friday with Clay Crockett and the Shot Gun Riders and the Pink Fire Truck.

"I left church and looked at two of my best friends and said, 'I have to do something about cancer this year, call it a calling. Will you support me?' And they said yes," Robert Constantine, owner of Touch of Class Limousine, said of how Tickled Pink began.

Now, he said, just a few months later, 56 area businesses have partnered with Guardian of the Ribbons, South Texas Chapter, to raise money and provide hope to those battling cancer in the Crossroads.

Though he originally looked at fundraising for national organizations, Constantine said he decided on Guardian of the Ribbons after attending one of their events and learning the money they raise stays local.

"My eyes were opened that day," he said. "These guys - the way they make women feel when they are battling cancer - it is just phenomenal."

At Friday's event kick off event at Two Step, Constantine hopes to raise about $15,000 from concert tickets, a raffle and auction. First Victoria National Bank is providing almost 40 volunteers.

In total, he said, the Tickled Pink group hopes to raise $75,000 from additional events and from businesses for the local Guardians of the Ribbons chapter.

Wendell Geigle, chairman and founder of the South Texas Chapter, said the organization is made up of about 40 Port Lavaca and Victoria firefighters and patrol officers who volunteer their time.

One of two chapters in Texas, he said their pink fire truck is already booked through October and has events scheduled throughout the year.

"My vision is to get it started and let it run on its own," Geigle said.

With the recent involvement from local businesses and community members, he said they are getting to that point.

"As long as the money stays local, that is all we want to do," Geigle said.

The money, he said, helps pay for things like fuel costs while traveling for cancer treatments and house bills.

Last year, their first year, Geigle said the local chapter raised almost $14,000.



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