September 28, 2023

[Photo courtesy of Riverside Community Health] Breast cancer survivors Shari Young and Rachel Bem, a retired registered nurse case manager, respectively, along with Qianteh Looney, a kindergarten teacher, walked the stage at last year’s event.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Downtown Riverside hosted an unforgettable night of showcasing fashion from local retailers to recognize breast cancer

The Riverside Downtown Partnership worked with the Pink Ribbon Place and the Riverside Health Foundation Oct. 6 to host a free event for  the public.

Visitors were able to view a fashion show with vintage, contemporary and designer looks sold within the downtown area. This event honored those affected by breast cancer, as well as educated the Inland Empire about the disease.

Janice Penner, executive director of the Riverside Downtown Partnership, has been hosting this annual event since 2011, but the mission has seen change since the founding.

While it used to be an event called “Fashion’s Night Out” and solely promoted Riverside’s retailers, in 2013 organizers decided to partner with local medical groups to promote women’s heart health, breast cancer awareness and the maintaining of a healthy lifestyle.

“From an economic standpoint it helps our retailers, and from an awareness standpoint, it gives a venue to send out a message,” Penner said. “It also encourages people to roam around our incredible downtown. I hope women will become aware of the issues of breast cancer.”

Brooke Villalobos, senior biology major, said she has a grandmother who has been affected by Stage-4 breast cancer, and she took care of her grandmother when she was in middle school.

Although it was devastating to see her grandmother in such a poor condition when going through treatments, she also got to see her conquer the 

“It’s definitely something the survivors need,” Villalobos said. “The more people who are aware, the more people will care and lend their hand to push for the cure, help survivors and people who are still going through it. They’re raising funds and raising emotional support for the people who need it.”

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