Breast cancer fundraiser returns to Straightaway Cafe

Paul Clark
Asheville Citizen Times

On Sunday, Oct. 1, Straightaway Café is having its second fundraiser to help pay for free breast cancer screenings. It all began after co-owner Ray Botham’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer long ago.

She found out she had it through a free screening, and Botham wants to make it possible for more women to have free screenings.

The Oct. 1 event will be 1-7 p.m. at the café in Broad River, south of Black Mountain. Money raised will be given in support of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program offered by Buncombe County Health and Human Services. The program offers free mammograms, PAP smears, breast and cervical exams and other services.

Botham’s sister is cancer-free, thanks to the early warning she got from a free screening. Last year, Straightaway Café raised some $4,500 to help underwrite screenings in Buncombe County.

“It cost about $100 for a woman to get screened, so that’s 45 women to get screened” as result of the money patrons spent and donated during last year’s event, Botham said.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. One in eight women in the U.S. will develop it, the organization’s statistics indicate.

“I have a wife and five daughters, and to hear those numbers, I thought let’s do something to increase funding and increase awareness,” Botham said.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a perfect time to hold the annual fundraiser, he said. The event will include a silent auction and music by Circus Mutt, Hustle Souls and Jesse & The Jam. Botham will donate a percentage of the café’s sales that day. He expects other vendors and visitors to donate as well.

“It’s just the generosity of this community out here in the Broad River area,” he said. Breast cancer “has touched so many people because the numbers are so high. It’s like everyone knows somebody that this has affected.”