ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 1 - Winter

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 59 of 123

SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY Life of the Party TEN YEARS AFTER LOSING A DEAR COUSIN TO BREAST CANCER, TICKLED PINK FOUNDER JODI FYFE IS MORE DETERMINED THAN EVER TO HELP OTHERS LIVE IN THE NOW. AS TOLD TO MEG MATHIS Tickled Pink founder Jodi Fyfe (RIGHT) with her cousin Carrie, who inspired the organization. 58 "M y cousin Carrie was born a year before I was, so she had been in my life from the very start. I was born in Oak Park, and Carrie lived in Crystal Lake. We grew up together. We hung out in the city, shopped, walked around, and went out at night. She was the life of the party. Carrie found a lump in her breast during her honeymoon, so she went to the doctor. She learned that she had breast cancer; nobody in our family had ever had any type of cancer. She spent time going through chemo after having a mastectomy, and the doctors cleared her to start having children. She got pregnant and had a miscarriage just under 12 weeks. She got pregnant again very shortly after, carried the baby for almost seven months, and then had pains that were mistaken by her doctors for sciatica. She had cancer in her pelvic area, so she had to deliver the baby—who lived only for a few days—and then have chemo and radiation again. The cancer cleared up and then was someplace else, so it was a seven-year battle, and in February of 2004, Carrie passed away at the age of 35. After she passed away, I would call her on the phone over and over out of habit. I just couldn't imagine that somebody I had been around for 34 years was gone, and that I was never going to see her again. What Carrie brought to my life emotionally, mentally, and on every level was beyond overwhelming, so I knew there couldn't be closure to it; there had to be something I could do. I put together the first Tickled Pink fundraiser in February 2005, and we raised over $100,000 and had 700 people attend the event. It was unbelievable. I don't think we realized the impact and how many people would actually come. It's really a party to celebrate life and Carrie. I'm a partner at Paramount Events, so I have friends in every area—floral, décor, venues, photography, DJs, bands—so all donations go directly to a great cause. We've raised more than $1 million in nine years. I think it's a big deal to say you raised even $100 for anything, and the fact that people would put so much money toward Ticked Pink is a testament to people in the Midwest; it's also a big deal to give people some connection to breast cancer. For the past few years, money from Tickled Pink has gone to Bright Pink, an organization that's really trying to get the message out to younger girls about early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. At the time of Carrie's battle, people weren't as aware of young women getting breast cancer. I've known Bright Pink founder Lindsay Avner [who opted for a double mastectomy at age continued on page 60 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 058-061_MA_SP_Spirit_Winter_14.indd 58 1/10/14 2:36 PM

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