RACINE — Pink Paddling Power (PPP), a dragon boat team and breast cancer support group, is raising funds for their organization through their annual Sue Meredith’s Purses with a Purpose event on April 2 at Preservation Hall, 740 Lake Ave., in Downtown Racine.
For an admission fee of $10 in advance, or $15 at the door, people can enjoy an afternoon of shopping for handbags, coin purses, and other accessories. The shopping experience goes from 1 to 3 p.m., and proceeds benefit Pink Paddling Power.
The video below shows the setup from Purses with a Purpose in 2018.
The idea is simple: purchase a handbag, purse, or other items of your choosing and through this simple act, event-goers give back.
About the group
The group consists of breast cancer survivors from the Racine area. Since 2006, they have provided education and support, and served the Racine area through community outreach, in addition to paddling for a cure.
At this time, the breast cancer group is made up of members ranging from as young as 45, up to 76 years old.
Over the years, PPP members have served as advocates for the Ascension Cancer Center. They also champion those receiving care at other cancer centers in the Racine area and even Milwaukee too.
Overall, the PPP members connect through their survivorship and serve as community leaders.
PPP travels locally, around the country, and even internationally, to compete in various races. They participate as a way to stay physically active through this recreational sport.
When they aren’t in the water, they connect with Racine and other communities at various events and by volunteering. They are well-known for their presence at Relay For Life in Racine, stockpiling the SANE nurses’ closet at Ascension, giving back to the Hospitality Center, and doing outreach for Veterans.
“They (the community) are always supporting us. So we, in return, love to support our community,” says Pink Paddling Power member, Melisa Quintanilla.
Event honors late member, Sue Meredith
This year’s fundraising event highlights Sue Meredith, an active member of the organization who died from metastatic breast cancer in 2019. According to Quintanilla, Sue was diagnosed sometime in the 2000s and fought it on and off for years. Sue always gave it her all.
Originally, the event was called Purses with a Purpose, however, due to Sue’s charm and sense of fashion, they renamed the event to honor her.
“She was always dressed to the nines, all the time. She’s had a bag for every outfit,” says Melisa.
Quintanilla explains she was smokey, classy, always wore funky glasses, and very stylish.
“The Meredith family donates the hall for us, so that’s why we have it there. That’s another reason why we named it in her honor because they’ve always been very generous,” explains Quintanilla.
Back in full swing
Sue Meredith’s Purses with a Purpose takes place every two years in Racine. However, this is the first time the event is back on in its original format since 2018 due to COVID-19.
This year, there are 600 bags available for purchase. These gently used (and sometimes new) handbags range in sizes and brands. These purses are donated to PPP as a way for the team to raise funds for their group.
Tickets can be obtained from any PPP member or purchased on Eventbrite. There will also be light refreshments, door prizes happening every half hour, and information available about the paddlers.
Learn more about this group by visiting their website. Follow them on Facebook for an inside look at their group.
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