Ribbons of hope: Mother and daughter team up to fight cancer
by Mark Ledbetter
Pat Hogge and her daughter Mitzi Smith have joined forces in the battle against cancer and have done so for the past five years.

Both women have been on a mission since Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

“You don’t know until it hits you,” Smith said. “I look at it as being given a second chance; this is why I survived, to give back,” Smith said.

Saturday marked the fifth annual Pink Charity Benefit, a luncheon and auction the mother-daughter team launched after Smith was diagnosed with cancer. The luncheon was held in Hogge’s PityPat’s Tea Room on Shelton Shore Drive in Lincoln.

Hogge said 60 people purchased tickets at $30 each and came expecting a good time, especially when what Hogge describes as a “bidding war” begins.

The event began with a luncheon of perennial favorites chicken salad and corn chowder. The meal was finished off with chocolate cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese icing.

Hogge said in the past they tried to have a guest speaker, but had to abandon that because the auction took about two hours.

“People come for the fun,” Hogge said. “We have return guests that get their Christmas shopping done.”

Items auctioned by family, friends, church and businesses included wreathes, quilts, tools, afghans and a host of other items. They were auctioned off to raise funds for the North Talladega County chapter for Relay for Life.

“Last year’s event raised $8,600,” Hogge said.

Attendants also had the opportunity to purchase a variety of items that Hogge and Smith made, including aprons, a cookbook and a CD containing 1,000 recipes and pictures.

The cookbook contains recipes submitted by cancer survivors or family members of those that have died of cancer. Hogge said they have sold 500 copies at $15 each for the past three years.

“These are tried and true recipes,” Hogge said.

The CD, “Hungry for a Cure,” is also a cookbook that contains 1,000 recipes and pictures of the dish so people can see what the recipe looks like when prepared. Hogge described the many hours typing recipes and posting pictures as a “labor of love.”

A unique item that is sold each year by popular request are employee Delilah Breedlove’s old fashioned tea cakes. Breedlove said she uses her mother’s recipe and said they are very tedious to make.

“The dough has to be rolled out, and the tender dough is hard to work with,” Breedlove said. “That makes the tea cake crisp.”

Breedlove said she has the original sackcloth her mother, the late Olivia Breedlove, used. The tea cakes were a Christmas specialty Breedlove’s mother made for family and friends.

What also makes the tea cakes unique is they are shaped like ribbons, a symbol in the fight against cancer.

There will be one item on display at PityPat’s that will not be auctioned – “Ribbons of Hope.”

“Ribbons of Hope” is a quilt prepared especially for Smith and Hogge by the Coosa Valley Quilting Guild. Hogge said she approached friend Marian Payant about making a quilt. Payant then proposed the quilt to the Guild as a special project. Hogge said she wasn’t aware the Guild took on the project and was surprised when they presented her with the quilt last spring.

“They [the Guild] met here at PityPat’s and presented the quilt to me,” Hogge said. “I was overwhelmed with the generosity and craftsmanship and they would do this for us.”

Hogge said she will sell $5 tickets for a chance to win the quilt and will have the drawing for the winner at the Guild’s meeting Nov. 6.

“Since they put their heart and soul in it, it is only right that they draw for the winner,” Hogge said.

Hogge said she had tickets and tickets were also available at Doodle Bugs in Pell City, as well as at Brannon’s Office Supply and Romona’s Beauty Salon in Talladega.

Smith said her stepfather Terry Hogge’s business, Terry Hogge Electrical, donated money to help with luncheon expenses and her mom’s PityPat’s Tea Room provided the baskets.

While Smith was reluctant to share many details regarding her battle with breast cancer, she did give some insight to the ordeal.

“It’s like being part of a sorority you don’t want to belong to,” the cancer survivor said.

Smith said she invited others she met facing the same battle she has survived to call her. “They don’t call because many are in denial,” she said.

“I was one of those that freaked out on the internet. They give you so many terms, I just researched the internet.”

Now she says, “I try to push people to do more with their life. One person can make a difference.”

This year marks the end of Pink Charity Benefit, however, as Hogge and Smith have decided to host the annual luncheon under a new name – “Ribbons of Hope.”

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com

© 2012