LAWRENCEVILLE -- Six years ago a Gwinnett team participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure set a lofty fundraising goal of $1 million to support the fight against breast cancer.
Tutus for Tatas recently surpassed that mark, becoming one of the biggest 3-Day fundraising teams in the nation.
"Initially we never thought we would reach a million dollars. It wasn't even in our scope of thought," said Barb Mock, the Dacula resident who founded the team. "But every year that went by we got closer to it. It's just been exhilarating.
"It really goes to show what an amazing community we live in because we wouldn't be at a million dollars if it wasn't for all the people that participated in our fundraisers and contributed just as a donor to support us as walkers," she said. "It speaks for Gwinnett County and the metro Atlanta area more than anything."
The team started with 28 members and has since grown to include 76 walkers, more than half repeat participants who each commit to raising a minimum of $2,300 for the cause each year.
"Everybody on the team works so hard," Mock said. "That makes it possible."
Not only have the Tutus made their mark financially, team members have become the faces of the 3-Day fight against breast cancer. Lisa Mitchell, a survivor herself, is featured in advertisements for Clif Bars. Christel Bethea was featured in the 2009 commercials for the national 3-Day ad campaign, and both Bethea and team founder Barb Mock are featured in 3-Day inspirational videos. Tutu alumni Trish Wiley was honored by Kroger and Kelloggs and featured on Special K cereal boxes as an inspirational survivor.
So far in 2010, Tutus for Tatas has raised more than $70,000 and the team's biggest fundraisers are still forthcoming.
On Oct. 2, the Tutus will sponsor the second annual Rock 'n' Run for Breast Cancer 5K road race. Race registration is open online or participants can sign up the day of the event. Walkers and runners are welcome and sponsorships are also available.
On Oct. 9, the team will celebrate its fourth annual A Taste of Hope luncheon and fashion show where breast cancer survivors will model fashions by Christopher & Banks. A silent auction will raise event more money for the cause. Tickets are $40 or $20 for cancer survivors with tables of 8 available for $250.
For more information on Tutus for Tatas and the team's upcoming fundraisers, call 770-963-9493 or visit www.tutus-for-tatas.com.