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Komen's Pink Promise luncheon breaks attendance records

500 people attended the event

Nikia Hammonds-Blakely was diagnosed with breast cancer at 16 years old.
Nikia Hammonds-Blakely was diagnosed with breast cancer at 16 years old.

ROANOKE – The fourth annual Pink Promise Luncheon was Monday in Roanoke and they had their biggest crowd ever with more than 500.

The annual event raises money for Komen Virginia Blue Ridge.

Nikia Hammonds-Blakely was diagnosed with breast cancer at 16 years old.  18 years later in the opposite breast she was diagnosed again and underwent a double mastectomy.

She was the keynote speaker and says her cancer gave her a resolve she never had before. She now works to educate women that breast cancer can strike at a very early age.

"I definitely considered myself the average teenager that wasn't really thinking about life, not taking anything too seriously but that diagnosis changed literally the course of my life," said Hammonds-Blakely. "You cannot afford to wait until you are 40 to know your normal. At the first sign of any abnormality, no matter what the age, it's time for you to know how to do a self breast exam."

Last year's event raised $80,000 and they expect to raise even more this year.  The money goes to local screenings, mammograms and treatment.  25% goes to breast cancer research.

Virginia Today morning anchor Jenna Zibton emceed the event.