When 21-year-old Ethan Hattoy and his family discovered that his aunt, Stephanie had been diagnosed with breast cancer this past January, he knew he had to do something to support her and the fight against the disease.
It was then that he and his family, owners of Hattoy's Nursery and Garden Center, decided to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Day to raise money for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation and to educate the community about the disease and how to prevent it.
The event is scheduled for June 2 with a rain date of June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be held at the garden center at 315 Blackrock Road in Coventry.
The community is invited to spend an afternoon enjoying a cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs, entertainment including music from Rich Ferri, raffles and more.
Rhode Island Medical Imaging and the Gloria Gemma foundation will have representatives on hand at the event to educate guests about breast cancer - a disease that one in every six Rhode Island woman wil develop in her lifetime, a number higher than the national average of one in eight.
With the help of family members, friends and local businesses, the Hattoy's have been able to collect many generous donations that will help make the day a success.
So far BJ's Wholesale Club, Frito Lay, Fat Belly's, Alex and Ani, Dave's Market, Nino's, Tom's Market, Honey Dew Donuts and John and Cyndi Stenning of the local Pepperidge Farm store, have donated money as well as gift certificates and products and to be raffled off, as well as 500 hamburgers and hotdogs to feed guests.
Mark Pare of Kent County Lawnmower graciously donated a mower worth upwards of $500 to be raffled off at the event. Perry also took the time to disassemble the mower, sand it and repaint it a bright pink hue in support of breast cancer awareness. Guests will have a chance to sign the mower before it is raffled off - a gesture commonly practiced by the RI Pink Heals.
Other items and services such as a Coach handbag and a massage certificate will be raffled off to guests as well.
The Hattoy's have ordered pink Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea to sell at the event along with pink bags of Impatiens that will contain surprise gift cards to various retailers. There will also be a 10 percent discount off of any pink products at the garden center that day.
Ethan said he is impressed by the progress of the event so far and thankful to everyone who has helped make it a possibility.
"I absolutely think that we would like to make this an annual event," he said. "After seeing what my aunt went through I definitely wanted to put this together to help educate people and help earn money for the cause."