It was a Pink Power party on TODAY Friday, with a celebration of women fighting breast cancer, those who have survived the disease, and the important people in their lives who support them every step of the way.
TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Joan Lunden, both breast cancer survivors who were decked out in pink, welcomed women and their loved ones inside on a rainy day for several surprises thanks to Delta Air Lines and Ford Motor Co. — and breakfast that included tiny pink cupcakes.
One breast cancer survivor Amy Canann chose her 13-year-old daughter, Madison, as her unsung hero.
“Madison went through a very difficult time with my cancer,” Amy told TODAY in a taped segment. “She sat up nights with me. She knew every medication I took. She was bullied by children at school about my appearance.”
Madison added: “People would say things like, ‘Why does your mom even bother to try? She’s just going to die anyways.’ And, ‘she was ugly because she was bald and that she just give up.’”
“It was very difficult for all of us,” Amy said.
Lunden also shared the story of Mindy Leider, who chose her newlywed husband, Jeremy, as her biggest supporter.
“He’s just so much fun and when I was completely done with my chemotherapy and radiation, he threw me a surprise ‘no-mo chemo’ party,” Mindy said. “He also used to have curly, long blond hair that he shaved when I was done with chemo, so we could have a hair-growing contest.”
Before the next surprise, Hoda introduced us to Lisa and Mark Oliver. Two years ago, Lisa, 46, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and had a mastectomy, four months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.
“It’s not just the exhaustion, but there’s so much you have to do extra to care for yourself during chemo,” Lisa said.
Her prognosis is good, but the treatment forced her to stop working, which took a toll on the family’s finances.
“It’s very expensive,” Lisa said, noting the wear and tear on the car, gas money and deductibles and co-payments.
“One of the ways that we found to help make ends meet immediately through the crisis time was The Pink Fund,” Lisa said. Ford’s Warriors in Pink and The Pink Fund paid for three months of Lisa’s medical premiums, as Mark stood by her side, driving her an hour each way to treatments.
On Friday, TODAY welcomed Mark and Lisa to the show, and surprised her with a new Ford Fusion as it was unveiled on the plaza.
"That's for you," Hoda told Lisa, explaining that Ford was giving her the new car.
“Thank you, Ford. Thank you, everyone!” a stunned Lisa said. “Yeah, I kind of needed a car.”
For more on the Ford breast cancer program, go to AlivewithJoan.com.
With cheers and hugs, the party wrapped up and it was time for breakfast, and those tiny pink cupcakes. And thanks to Hoda for getting the party started with just the right music, Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.”
To start your own party:
HODA'S PINK POWER PLAYLIST:
1. House party — Sam Hunt
2. I don't like it, I love it — Flo Rida
3. This is How We Do It — Montell Jordan
4. Wild Wild West — Will Smith
5. Hot in Herre — Nelly
6. Uptown Funk — Bruno Mars
7. Fight Song — Rachel Platten