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Local businesses hold fundraisers, local personalities help hand out pink R-Js

John Barr will do anything to cure breast cancer.

Even if it means handing out pink newspapers and donating big dollars to research.

Barr, the public face of the Findlay Toyota, is part of today’s kickoff of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which local businesses promote breast-cancer research and help raise funds for a cure for the disease. Barr will be at the Valle Verde Drive location of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, selling customers editions of today’s Review-Journal, printed on pink paper in honor of breast-cancer awareness.

Participating in October’s events is a natural for Findlay’s Toyota dealership, because about 60 percent of its customers are women, said Rick Glenn, director of marketing.

"This helps us connect emotionally with the community, when people can say, ‘Hey, Findlay Toyota sponsors my cause,’ " Glenn said.

In addition to helping distribute pink Review-Journals, Findlay Toyota will take $500 off the price of any car if a customer brings in the special edition. The dealership will also donate $500 of each car purchase to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure nonprofit, which raises funds for breast-cancer research.

"Helping makes for a better community. If you’re going to do business in Las Vegas, helping those who are less fortunate in some way is a good philosophy," said Tyler Corder, chief financial officer of the Findlay Automotive Group.

Corder said buyers don’t need to buy a car today to get the deal.

Findlay isn’t the only local businesses involved in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Mexican restaurant Ricardo’s of Las Vegas will throw a 30th anniversary party Oct. 15-16, where bartenders will try to break the Guinness World Record for largest margarita. To make the margarita, Ricardo’s will use a pink tequila, called Rose Angel, which is aged in port barrels rubbed inside with hibiscus flowers. Donated tequila from Rose Angel will help defray the giant margarita’s $60,000 expense.

Ricardo’s will give proceeds from its anniversary party to the Komen foundation. After the event, Ricardo’s will break the margarita into 60,000 12-ounce drinks and freeze it for later resale over the next several months. Every time the eatery sells one of the drinks, it will donate a share of the cost to Komen. Ricardo’s owner Bob Ansara estimated the fundraiser could bring in $60,000 to $100,000 for breast-cancer research and awareness.

Breast cancer hasn’t personally touched Ansara or his loved ones, but he said he turned on to the cause after seeing statistics that show one in eight women will develop the disease.

"When you start thinking about that number, it’s staggering," Ansara said. "I’ve been able to meet a lot of people involved (in Komen), and they are just so passionate. Their give is extreme. Times are tough, and it’s hard for charities to raise the kind of money they used to. It’s a cool thing that we can do something this big as a little taco stand, so to speak. We’re thankful to have something positive to talk about, and we’re thankful it’s going to a great cause."

Other Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraisers inside local businesses include Crown nightclub’s Black & Pink Party Oct. 9, Blue Martini’s Pink Party Oct. 16, the second annual St. Rose Dominican Rose Regatta Oct. 16 and Southern Highlands Golf Club’s Pink Tee Golf & Social Oct. 26.

The Review-Journal will donate proceeds from sales of today’s pink edition to the Komen foundation. Local personalities, including Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and comedian Rita Rudner, will help sell the Review-Journal’s pink edition today.

"We’ve seen this successful partnership with newspapers and the Komen foundation in other markets, and we felt it was natural for us to partner here and get the word out for Breast Cancer Awareness Month," said Chris Trares, retail advertising director for the Review-Journal.

Stephanie Kirby, executive director of Komen’s Las Vegas branch, said the emphasis on breast cancer awareness causes a spike in mammograms every October, but that it is important for women to think about their breast health throughout the year.

"We always like to say that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but breast cancer isn’t limited to just one month a year," Kirby said. "We’re very fortunate to have all these events in October, but we definitely need to have awareness year-round."

Last year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month raised about $26,000 for the local Komen chapter.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Las Vegas Business Press writer Caitlin McGarry contributed to this report.

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