By Michele J. Kuhn
Business owners collaborate to bring awareness to detectable cancers
RED BANK – It was over a drink one evening between friends that the idea for a cancer awareness event was hatched.
Angela Courtney, owner of the 11 White St. lingerie store Sweetest Sin, and Chris Paseka, owner of the cupcake and sweets shop Sugarush at 37 East Front St., sat together and came up with the Go Naked and Check Yourself campaign.
The theme for this year’s edition – Elect to Check – is in keeping with the political season and is an invitation for people to come and make the event the party of their choice. Buttons and ballots will be available and there will be fun tests of people’s knowledge about breast, skin and testicular cancers, which are all detectable cancers.
“We’re just trying to build awareness, Courtney said. “We just want people to be aware of themselves, of their body and go get checked out. We need to be aware that there are detectable cancers and that you can use early detection to save lives. It’s just so important.”
This year’s event at Teak Asian Fusion Restaurant, 64 Monmouth St., will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. There will be food, cocktails, cupcakes – of course – a DJ, raffles, a fundraising auction and a fashion show during which the models, three men and three women, will wear fewer pieces of clothing with each turn on the runway. They will begin with robes and pajamas and end with the men in boxers and the women in bras and panties.
“We wanted to do a fun event to involve the community, to bring about awareness of detectable cancers,” Courtney said. “It just works out well that (Paseka) has his naked cupcake bar and we have our lingerie boutique. We’re promoting the feeling of being comfortable, going to the doctor, doing self-checks and going and talking about things that people don’t usually want to talk about. We focus on detectable cancers – breast, testicular and skin.”
When Courtney and Paseka decided to put the event on, they contacted other Red Bank business owners and found that generosity was all around them. Virtually no one rejected their invitation to assist by being a sponsor or supplying goods to be raffled off or placed in goody bags.
“This town is willing and wanting to do good,” Paseka said.
This is the second year for the event. Last year 250 people attended and 65 borough businesses lent their support. Go Naked and Check Yourself 2011 raised $8,400 that was donated to the American Cancer Society. This year, three charities will benefit from the event: Young Survival Coalition, Livestrong and the American Cancer Society.
The subject of cancer is an emotional one for both Courtney and Paseka.
“If by doing this one event or having someone laugh over the name Go Naked results in just one person checking themselves and finding something, then it’s all been worth it,” Paseka said.
“This event means everything to me,” said Paseka, whose mother has had breast cancer and whose father is now being treated for cancer.
“For both of us, personally, we have had friends and family who have gone through different battles in their lives with cancer,” she said. ”We both wanted to give back to some sort of organization.
“We both donate throughout the year to charities that we feel strongly about,” she said. “Over a drink one night we said, ‘Let’s do something together. Let’s do something in this town.’ …We wanted to do something fun and everyone we asked came onboard, easily. You don’t have to ask people twice. All the businesses are 100 percent in.”
During the Nov. 18 event experts, including Lisa Frank, who is president of the Young Survival Coalition, and motivational speaker and cancer survivor DonnaLyn Giegerich will be on hand to share their knowledge. They also will answer questions about skin, breast and testicular cancers and will reinforce the importance of preventative care.
Several businesses in Red Bank and beyond have already contributed to the event including: Kathryn Barnett School of Dance, Via 45, Salon Concrete, Brandi Grooms Photography, Sounds To Go, New Corner Pizza, Dish, Red Bank Family Eye Center, Law office of Ernest Anemone, Glam Bar, Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, Ten Thousand Villages, Front Street Trattoria, The Cheese Cave, Fred Astaire Dance, McKay Imaging, The RiverCenter, The Bistro, Count Basie Theatre, Hobbymasters, and Soapmarket.
Tickets may be purchased by visiting Sugarush or Sweetest Sin Boutique. Advance tickets are $35 and $50 at the door. A limited number of VIP tables will be sold for $500 and will include four tickets and bottle service.