“We were truly shocked. We just wanted to raise awareness and it really tied programs to the pink ribbon. We wanted to make sure people got the program message as well."
Cheryl Doucette, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Education and Outreach Program Director for Kent and Sussex counties
When the proceeds from Milford’s Best of the Bars fundraiser were totaled by the organizers from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, there was no doubt it had exceeded their expectations.
Cheryl Doucette, the DBCC Education and Outreach Program Director for Kent and Sussex counties, set a goal of a couple of hundred dollars raised and some breast cancer awareness promoted for the first Best of the Bars, Oct. 8.
So when Doucette found out that 13 local celebrity bartenders raised $8,909 at four local businesses – Abbott’s Grill, Grotto Pizza, Longshots and Park Place – she was ecstatic.
“We were truly shocked,” said Doucette, who announced the results at the Mispillion River Brewing Company, Oct. 27. “We just wanted to raise awareness and it really tied programs to the pink ribbon. We wanted to make sure people got the program message as well.
“This all stays local. Everything raised in Kent or Sussex counties stays in the county that it’s raised and it does help to support programs.”
Doucette said some of the funds will go to the DBCC’s Bosom Buddy Program, where they will provide wigs, bathing suits, bras or prosthetics for newly diagnosed survivors who can’t afford them.
It also helps fund the organization’s Mentoring Program, where the DBCC matches up newly diagnosed cancer survivors with another individual who shares the same traits -- age, diagnosis and treatment – and is also battling the disease. That helps women see they are not alone in their fight.
Erin Spatz is the co-owner of Park Place. Her bar raised $5,575.50. She said the enthusiasm ran high downtown.
“We got a lot of great help from our patrons and we had a lot of great times,” Spatz said. “The most money we got was from our frozen bras competition, which was phenomenal.
“We had 10 or 15 guys come in and put on bras that our customers helped decorate. They walked around and danced and raised some money and every bit of it went to fight breast cancer.”
Trish Rodriguez worked the bar at Abbott’s Grill and brought in a local celebrity-high amount of $1,124.50, including donations she collected in the weeks following the bartending night.
Rodriguez said she just wanted to help out the DBCC as best as she could.
“The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is definitely in need of help because they extend themselves way beyond staff level,” she said. “They go out into the communities and help young women in particular who need help.
“We’re so happy to have them in Milford and Dover, and concentrating on those two areas. Cancer can affect all of us.”
Chuck Ivins, a guest server at Park Place, raised $607 and said it is a personal for him – since his mother had breast cancer.
“I’ve never been a bartender before,” Ivins said. “I own a florist shop, so I’m in the flower business. I’m used to selling flowers, but that night I was selling beers.
“It was something that certainly helped bring our community together. Cancer affects a lot of people. My own mother had cancer, so I feel like I’m helping to give back by doing this.”
Doucette said she’s already planning on hosting a second Best of the Bars next year. It was also quite an end to Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“Those pink ribbons really should remind you to get your mammogram and we just wanted to share the message, so we thought this would be a fun way,” Doucette said. “We never even dreamed we would raise almost $9,000.”
MILFORD BEST OF THE BARS
HELD AT: Abbott’s Grill, Grotto Pizza, Longshots and Park Place
BARTENDERS: Eric Buckson, Brad Dennehy, Brad Eaby, SaraKate Hammer, Dr. Scott Hammer, Mike Hines, Alicia Hollis, Chuck Ivins, Mark “Petch” Petchey, Trish Rodriguez, Mayor Bryan Shupe, Shaun Strickland and Jeremy Tucker.