Derby Divas

2015_DD_photos-1Derby Divas brings together the best in fashion, business partnerships and compassionate community members to raise funds for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Now in its 10th year, it is safe to say that this important event has a lasting positive impact on the community. This year, Derby Divas will take place on Thursday, April 21 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Rodes located at 4938 Brownsboro Road. Tickets are $50 if purchased by April 20 and $60 at the door. Tickets are available at nortonhealthcare.com. To learn more about this special fundraiser, we spoke with Susan Vogt, women’s buyer and co-owner of Rodes.

How did Derby Divas come to fruition?
Derby Divas was inspired by a board game that brought together girls for a fun night out. There were a small group of us who wanted to give directly back to our community, so we put together our Christmas card lists and invited our friends to a cocktail party. We had less than 100 women in attendance, but we had a blast playing the game and were moved as we listened to our speakers’ journeys through their battles and survivals of breast cancer. The next year, we doubled our attendance, played the game and honored another survivor. A new Derby tradition was started! By the third year, we secured several generous corporate sponsors, experienced high attendance on a beautiful spring evening and sold all of the raffle tickets. At that point, we KNEW that we were making a difference.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, how has Derby Divas evolved over time?
We are planning that over 400 women will be joining us for Derby Divas’ 10-year anniversary. The speaker, Lynda Lambert, is a dear friend and a 10-year cancer survivor herself, and we are planning quite a celebration! We will play the game, have a short video to reminisce how Derby Divas has evolved over the last decade and follow it all by listening to Lynda’s triumphant journey.

How does this event benefit the local community?
Derby Divas has raised over $1 million, and we take pride in knowing over 90 percent of the money raised has gone directly back to Norton Cancer Institute to benefit the Breast Health Program. We have amazing partnerships with local businesses and friends who donate money, time and their services to fashion and a miraculous evening. Then we have the women who attend the event and buy a Derby Diva tote and a raffle ticket to come and have a good time while we raise money and awareness. With all of these partnerships, we have enjoyed enough success to fund the Mobile Prevention Center, which provides mammograms and other cancer screening services throughout our community. We have also opened the Derby Divas Breast Health Center, which offers a warm, convenient and comforting environment for receiving a mammogram and any diagnostic testing. The Norton Cancer Institute now offers same-day appointments with cancer specialists, so the wait period from diagnosis to treatment is shortened. This allows a woman to work with her breast care team and develop a personalized breast cancer treatment plan that addresses care for the body, mind and spirit. It helps to lessen the fear that comes with a diagnosis.

What’s on the horizon for future Derby Divas events?
The future of Derby Divas is to keep finding ways to give the girls a fun night out while we raise money and awareness to battle this disease. My mother was a breast cancer survivor, and my father died from a rare form of cancer. We all know and love someone who is affected by this insidious disease, and if this one night can focus on hope and laughter while we revel over wins of survival, then Derby Divas may be around until we are truly victorious. VT