PHOTOS — Philpott Toyota, Gift of Life bring breast cancer awareness through fun event

Published 12:30 am Friday, October 13, 2023

NEDERLAND — Breast cancer survivor Adrienne Kight is appreciative of the Julie Rogers Gift of Life and its programs.

The Beaumont woman usually takes part in the nonprofit organization’s 5K, and on Thursday was one of more than 100 people who took part in the Take Out Breast Cancer Drive-Thru Luncheon at Philpott Toyota.

Kight was in the passenger seat while her son, Terry — who took care of her while she battled the disease, was in the drivers seat.

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“This is just a great event,” Kight said while holding a pink sign that said “survivor strong.”

Vehicles lined the nearby feeder road leading to the auto dealership, where they were greeted by pink clad, enthusiastic volunteers waving and making noise. A number of organizations were on hand to hand out boxed meals and distribute information.

Carrie McCrossen and Sarah Lisenby with YMCA of Southeast Texas-Port Arthur held signs and noisemakers while cheering on the survivors.

Lisenby called the event fun, saying she took part in it last year.

McCrossen was having fun greeting the survivors and their families, but both women know the seriousness of the illness, having lost family members to cancer. McCrossen said she lost an aunt and grandmother.

“It’s personal,” McCrossen said of why they are taking part.

Bob Thewman, general manager of Philpott Motors, said they have partnered with the Gift of Life for more than 20 years and said they are great community partners.

Preventive care is important, he said, and Philpott likes to give back to the community and to organizations where the money stays local.

“And what better organization to partner with than the Gift of Life. It saves local lives, and there’s free mammogram screening and prostate screening for people who can’t afford it,” he said.

Norma Sampson, executive director of the Julie Rogers Gift of Life program, said the annual event brings a sense of joy and happiness.

“It’s about awareness and heightening our services so people can take advantage of gift of Life’s free services, but more importantly, it’s about the hugs and love,” Sampson said of Thursday’s event. “There’s nothing like having this drive through where we get to say hello to dear friends, meet others and express our compassion and love and certainly applaud their courage as they’re battling this disease.”

The drive-through event came about during COVID, when inside events were not being done. So many people enjoyed the drive-through that organizers opted to continue.

Officials with the Gift of Life announced they are making an additional 50 free breast health screenings available for eligible women in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Julie Richardson Procter 5K Ribbon Run and Gift of Life Monster Dash registration is ongoing. The event is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 28 in downtown Beaumont

For more information, go to giftoflifebmt.org or call 409 -833-3663.