October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink is popping up all over. Our local firefighters are pink, our local beer (Crazy Mountain Brewery) is pink and our local salons and spas are really pink. Throughout the month of October, Shaw Regional Cancer Center is putting on "Pretty in Pink," a partnership between Shaw and local salons, spas and other businesses to raise awareness about breast cancer and raise funds to help local women in need with breast cancer diagnosis. Throughout October, take advantage of the special offerings at 22 participating salons from Vail to Eagle. Proceeds will make breast screenings and diagnostic procedures at the Sonnenalp Breast Center available to local women who may not be able to afford them otherwise. What could make anyone feel prettier than getting dolled up and helping their sisters at the same time?"In its second year, 'Pretty in Pink' has proven both fun and highly beneficial to local women needing diagnostic services," said Peggy Carey, vice president at Shaw Regional Cancer Center, which is home to the Sonnenalp Breast Center. "We know that nearly a quarter of a million women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year and if found early, there is a 98 percent survival rate so let's make it easier for women to get the tests needed and not waste any time." Last year, 'Pretty in Pink' raised $12,000 and helped two dozen women offset breast-imaging expenses. Screenings free, diagnostics costAccording to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the 98 percent survival rate drops to just 27 percent if the breast cancer is diagnosed late. The ACS and the Sonnenalp Breast Center recommend women who are over 40, or have a strong family history of breast cancer, receive annual breast screenings.While Colorado law mandates insurance covers the full cost of preventative mammograms, what people may not realize - until it happens to them - is that most insurance does not cover all the expenses of diagnostic breast imaging. When women with a suspicious or questionable mammogram need to go back and have repeat mammograms or other diagnostic procedure, it is not fully covered, often leaving women with the double whammy of fear for their health and for their pocketbooks. The proceeds of Pretty in Pink will go to benefit women who need help covering breast diagnostic procedures through a fund called the Gap Fund.It was for this reason the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group announced the creation of the Gap Fund, and donated $50,000 to the Sonnenalp Breast Center. "Of all the great ways the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group reaches out to help our ladies, the Gap Fund may be my most favorite," said Colleen Berga, manger of the Sonnenalp Breast Center. "This program will truly help the working people in our community and help ease some anxiety and financial stress that comes with diagnostic imaging." Since the fund was created in July, 23 women have received financial assistance from the Gap Fund. At the Sonnenalp Breast Center, the SonoCine Whole Breast Ultra Sound is being offered for $250 instead of the usual $300 this month.Spread the wordBreast Cancer Awareness Month is a great time to get the word out about the importance of screening. And what better place to spread the word than at your favorite salon with your trusted stylist? This year, Pretty in Pink's salon and spa offerings are more creative and delectable than ever. In addition to generous donations and percentage of proceeds, some salons are making themed parties of the event. Salon Axis is hosting a Girls Night Out party with waterless manicures (Oct. 26); Dreaming Tree Spa in Lionshead is offering a Give a Hoot for Hooters! silent auction and fall gathering (Oct. 24); and Candi Johns Salon is offering a Rock N Roll clothing and jewelry party on Oct. 11.Whether you participate in one of 'Pretty in Pink's' spa cut-a-thons (Oct. 11 at Allegria), enter in drawings for spa products or join a Fun Run and Pilates lesson (Oct. 13 at Aria Spa), you can relax in pampered certainty that the proceeds will help women in the valley access life-saving diagnostic procedures and treatments.