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Two women raise funds for nonprofit breast cancer help groups

Two small nonprofits in the region operate fairly quietly as they support those with breast cancer. The Olean-based Pink Pumpkin Project helps men and women through treatment; the Sisterhood Wellness Center of Derby raises funds to bring 20 breast cancer survivors to Holiday Valley in Ellicottville on retreats.

These little groups are a big deal to Alyssa Rowe and Michelle DeYoe.

The Pumpkin Project helped DeYoe’s mother, Tammie, through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments during the last year. Rowe’s mother, Amy, has benefited from Sisterhood Wellness weekends since her diagnosis and treatment in 2013. That’s why the daughters hosted a kickball tournament last spring during senior year at Portville High School, sending half of the $382 in proceeds to the two organizations. DeYoe has since started basic training in the Army National Guard, so Rowe, 18, a freshman at Jamestown Community College taking up nursing, talked for both of them this week.

Q. Why do the fundraiser?

We had to do a senior project. It had be something within the community. Michelle’s mom had recently been diagnosed so we figured we would help out our parents by helping out the organizations that had helped them originally. We wanted to show them the appreciation we felt for helping out our moms.

Q. How has the Sisterhood Wellness Center helped your family during the recovery and remission process?

It was really important. It helped her mentally and it also gave her some new friends and another support system. They understand what she went through. She talks to them quite a bit. ... She considers them family, too.

Q. What would you like to tell those considering making a breast cancer-related donation in October?

Donate to the local, smaller organizations. Most of them need a lot of help because they don’t get the support that the bigger groups do, and they do make a big impact on people locally.

– Scott Scanlon

The Pink Pumpkin Project pumpkin sale is going on now at For $12.50, you can buy a special pumpkin, pick it up Oct. 17 in Olean and support the work of the nonprofit group. Sisterhood Wellness Center will host its next retreat Oct. 14; it’s already booked solid. Support the cause at

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