Topless Cruise in Belmont

Written by on December 1, 2014 in Insight - No comments

Neighbors in Deed Helping Neighbors in Need

Who in the world would drive down Main Street with their TOP DOWN?!?  Me, that’s who…along with lots of friends. It began as a dream (literally) in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2013.   I awoke and began making my notes, determined to make my dream come true.  I met with a friend for lunch, told her of my dream and she was instantly ready to take her top down too!  CONVERTIBLE TOP, that is…and the “wheels” kept rolling on from there.   After receiving approval and the blessing from the town…the date was set for the first Saturday in November for the Topless Cruise in Belmont, adding the slogan “It’s never too late to take your top down for a mammogram!”  We were on a roll…and in just 2 and a half weeks, we were cruising!

YellowTbirdWEBNumber 1 rule ­- 100% of every donated dollar would stay in our community, helping local patients who have cancer. Mission accomplished. A Facebook page was built by a friend, which was our only means of advertising along with word of mouth.  Before you knew it, we had 20 convertibles signed up, ready to take their top down for a great cause.  Sponsors stepped up to help…knowing their names wouldn’t be “up in lights” but they didn’t hesitate to give from their hearts to assist patients right here in their neighborhood.

Thus, our first annual Topless Cruise in Belmont was born!  It was a beautiful sunny day, 75 degrees and what fun we had!  My friend, an RN and a breast cancer survivor of 10 1/2 years rode with me as our Pink Princess.  Another friend, a radiologist, specializing in breast care called to ride shotgun in my topless car. Smiles, tears of joy, hugs, support, testimonies, stories shared…what a GREAT DAY it was and raising over $3800.00!  We referred to that as the “38DD Topless Cruise”  Other than my leading the cruise “too fast” (so they said), everything was perfect!  We all enjoyed time together following the cruise, offering support, encouragement and more.

This year, when the date was announced on Facebook for the 2nd Annual Topless Cruise in Belmont, we had over 1600 views that day on our Facebook page!  Of course I don’t know what may have gotten their attention but hey, it worked!

Excitement was building, we “flocked” the town with Pink Flamingoes, recognizing downtown businesses that were supportive.  A local BBQ hotspot called to donate BBQ sandwiches for all participants and sponsors as did our local bakery, donating pink cupcakes (size A & B) and the local coffee shop donated coffee.  Our beautiful venue was graciously offered at no charge, along with beautiful decor and a DJ volunteered his time & talent. A friend designed our flyers that were posted on Facebook, available for sharing or printing. Two great local car dealerships stepped up again this year, excited about participating and being “charter sponsors” along with our well respected radiology group and our talented photographer.  Two local female breast surgeons had heard all about it and asked to be sponsors this year.  Thanks to the suggestion by a dedicated mammography technician, our local hospital entered the mobile mammography unit this year, allowing people to have their mammograms right after the Topless Cruise.  The Mammo Bus was the caboose in the cruise.  What fun it was!

A friend called me in tears the week of the cruise. She had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She said, “I want to come but I’m afraid all I’ll do is cry.”  My reply, “wear your sunglasses and come on.  You will find a support system like none other.  You will see what life looks like AFTER cancer.  You will be surrounded by survivors and support.” She came, she cried, she participated and she is thankful.  She was our newest Pink Princess.  Another friend had just completed her final round of chemotherapy.  She, along with her husband and two small children enjoyed their topless ride.  My cousin, a 2 year survivor was escorted by another cousin.  Two friends, both RNs are 11 1/2 year survivors, were cruising together in a brand new 2014 Camaro with their top down.  Another flock of friends wore pink TuTus with signs to save the TaTas for their surviving friend, all enjoyed cruising topless.  They were decorated and so were their topless rides with balloons, bras of all shapes and sizes, pink wigs, boas & bling. All stages, all ages….the “Pink Princesses” embraced each other sharing laughter, tears and joy…along with exchanging phone numbers to help each other through their journeys each day.  I almost forgot to mention, this year the weather was “an arctic blast” (per the weather man) with high winds, low temperatures, rains, clouds and you name it.  I was asked if we should reschedule and after giving some thought, I remembered I had invited Faith and Hope so I made the statement that “these survivors have survived MUCH GREATER STORMS than this so let’s roll”…and we did.  After music, photos, registration & shout outs to our sponsors, our Sheriff announced our route and his plans to lead the way.  At that very moment, the clouds rolled back and the TOPS CAME DOWN!  Once again, we were cruising for a cause….TOPLESS!

What began as a dream, ignited wheels to turn, excited the community and the Pink Princesses were connected.  Our promise is to “Keep it Rolling” each year as the Annual Topless Cruise in Belmont comes together. We’re cruising for a cause as “Neighbors in Deed are Helping Neighbors in Need”.

This year we raised $5230.00 to help our neighbors who have cancer.  100% of every donated dollar helps with nutrition, co-pays and other related medical expenses.  It is my desire to see this Topless Cruise roll into other cities and states. What a wonderful feeling it is when the community sees a need, comes together, and makes a positive difference.

“I feel honored to be a part of the Topless Cruise. Only being diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks earlier, I was amazed at all of the support I received from other Breast cancer survivors.  People I had never met hugged me, gave me words of encouragement and their phone numbers “just in case I wanted to talk.” My daughter rode along beside me and my family was huddled on the corner downtown cheering me on with pink posters, balloons and their hearts filled with love & encouragement for me. It was a wonderful day!”      Susie Parker

“It is really inspiring to see so many members of our community gathering in support for this great cause.  We had such a day of fun & fellowship while raising awareness for breast cancer and the needs within our community. Having the CaroMont mobile mammography van as our “caboose” was a great way to remind everyone that early detection is the best prevention.”      Annamarie Collier, MD

“As a pre-op nurse and an 11 1/2 year breast cancer survivor myself, it is an honor to participate in the Topless Cruise. When I was diagnosed, I knew no one well enough to reach out to ask advice. I would be at work, go to another room and cry, pull myself together and go help another patient. I was tearful and fearful. I want people to know that they have my support, love and friendship.  I want them to know this is just a bump in the road.  They will get through this and be stronger.  I know I am.  My life is even better after having breast cancer because of the blessings I’ve received. There is life after cancer!”      Robin Cudd, RN

By Denise Price Thomas
Founder & Creator, Topless Cruise

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