SUMMIT, NJ — According to a Jan. 30 press release from North Jersey Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Pink Tie Party is the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s signature event, and this year, the North Jersey affiliate, Komen North Jersey, will hold the event on April 7 at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the promise made by the affiliate’s co-founders to help fight breast cancer in northern New Jersey.
Deborah Q. Belfatto of Summit is one of the co-founders that will be honored at the event. According to the press release, on June 7, 1997, after a year of working with the organizing committee, The Susan G. Komen Foundation North Jersey Affiliate was created in Belfatto’s basement. Three months later, the first Pink Tie Ball was held, and the affiliate grew into a small office space prior to moving into its pink-shuttered location in Summit and finally settling into its current location on Middle Avenue in Summit.
According to the press release, the affiliate has raised more than $16 million in local community grants to nonprofit organizations that provide screening and diagnostic services, breast health and breast cancer education, treatment support and survivorship programs. More than $7 million has been donated to research programs to pursue new breast cancer screening techniques, better and more efficient screening options and causes and cures to end breast cancer.
Belfatto was a founder and former executive director of the North Jersey affiliate. She is still involved in the organization to this day.
“Deb and her co-founders, Lisa Herschli and Kathy Hubert-McKenna, are being honored for bringing Susan G. Komen to North Jersey, but more importantly, for all the legacy they created,” Public Relation Chair Kathi Wolder of Susan G. Komen North Jersey told LocalSource in an email Feb. 8.
Belfatto is looking forward to this year’s Pink Tie Party, renamed after the original event, Pink Tie Ball, was held, to encourage new people to attend and give it a less formal feeling.
“I respect the younger team,” Belfatto told LocalSource over the phone on Feb. 11. “It takes the vitality of younger women and the respect of the women who got them to where they are today. So that’s why they’re honoring us 20 years later.
We want to welcome and sustain them. The event’s name change was very intentional. We want to make everyone feel comfortable and encourage new people to attend.”
Belfatto resigned from her position as executive director five years ago, but still remains active in helping other women combat this disease.
“I stepped away five years ago because it was time,” Belfatto said. “I needed some breathing space, but I never stopped focusing on women and their needs. I like that the new generation carries our message and can spread it in new ways with social media. I’m so passionate about this and it gives me joy to reach people of all different cultures. I tell my daughter all the time to not only count your blessings but to share them.”