Thinking Pink In Wheeling

It’s been a busy week in the Wheeling area, with lots of events to attend, including Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities and several theatrical and musical performances.

For example, the 10th annual Think Pink luncheon and silent auction took place in the White Palace ballroom at Wheeling Park Wednesday, Oct. 23. The event, started by the late Jane Altmeyer to raise funds for preventative and diagnostic services for uninsured and under-insured women, has grown from a one-woman effort to an annual event involving her large circle of friends, as well as other members of the community and students from area educational institutions.

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Other Breast Cancer Awareness Month events were held during the week at Hughes Design and Gift Gallery, Wheeling, where Joan Bradley Reedy, an ambassador for Vera Bradley Inc. and a daughter of the real Vera Bradley, visited Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Reedy spoke the contributions that the company named for her mother and its foundation are making for breast cancer research. She also shared several interesting stories about the formation and early years of Vera Bradley Inc., founded by her sister, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, and a neighbor, Patricia R. Miller, in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1982.

During the company’s early years, two new patterns were issued for its product line each year. The firm’s namesake, former model Vera Bradley, served as a sales representative and was well known for wearing apparel made from the distinctive, colorful prints popularized by Vera Bradley Inc.

When Bradley died unexpectedly after a traffic accident in 1992, her daughter – the company’s co-founder – had a special jacket made from new blue and white flowered fabric for their mother’s final outfit. Reedy recalled that when one mourner approached Bradley’s casket, the woman exclaimed, “Is that the new blue pattern?” Reedy quipped, “Mom would have loved it.”

Reedy also related that the company held its first tent sale, a modest affair, in Fort Wayne in 1984. As the popularity of the Vera Bradley line has grown, so has interest in the annual tent sale. Reedy said they now rent the coliseum for six days and the event attracts 60,000 women.