Four generations of the Rankin family have supported “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” fundraising e orts to benefit local breast cancer patients for the past decade. The family passion for the cause increased when Barbara Rankin, mother of three of the initial founders, was treated for pre-cancerous cells in her breast. The original founders include family members Sharon (Rankin) Shirack, Doug Shirack, Alan Rankin, Bonnie Rankin and Vicki (Rankin) Lynch along with close family friend Daren Shawver.
“We’ve always been very close,” Barbara says of her family. “Taking on a family initiative to benefit breast cancer was natural for us.”
Alan Rankin introduced the affiliation when he served on the Fair and Rodeo Board. “We were looking for a charitable organization to support through the rodeo. Tough Enough to Wear Pink was identified with the rodeo and the issue of breast cancer nationwide,” he says. “When I asked the family about acquiring the rights to the name and doing fundraising, the cause hit home for us.” In order to use the trademark name, the family must meet specific criteria and provide descriptions of their events on an annual basis.
The family’s passion for the cause is based on personal experience. Barbara’s husband died of prostate cancer and her father-in-law survived a bout with the disease. Two close family friends who lost their battle with breast cancer also inspired their e orts.
“Through the years, friends of family members have volunteered for our fundraisers, “Sharon says. “Their participation and community participation is increasing every year.”