At first glance upon attending the 5th Annual Cocktails for a Cure event (presented by Sherman & Howard, L.L.C. and matched by The Salah Foundation to benefit cutting edge research for the University of Colorado Cancer Center), one might see lovely ladies enjoying swanky cocktails. While the rainbow variety of delicious cocktails was delightful, it became very clear quite quickly that the true heart of involvement from board members, organizers, vendors, and attendees alike was the spirit of camaraderie and a passion for prevention and community.

The evening began with attendees trying specialty cocktails including a deliciously ginger-based martini featuring earl grey tea and candied ginger, courtesy of Frasca Food & Wine, a healthy kale-pear vodka number presented by Bol; a blood orange and ginger beer drink by Tag; a raspberry and rosemary drink by Guard and Grace; and a delicious whiskey bitters and spiced pear drink with Jax. Chris Bates also offered his services as Sommelier.

While ladies browsed and chatted, the Wall of Wine was open to choose a donated bottle at random, with value from $20-$200 with a $25 donation. Ladies perused the silent auction that included highlights such as a Granby Ranch Getaway, a Blowout to Go Out to pamper you and eight close friends, and a VIP Nuggets Experience. Gourmet served as the caterers for the event, with a delicious menu of food items. Sugarlicious presented a fun array of party favors with cocktail-like themes, including “martini olives” that delightfully were actually chocolate-covered almonds. Happy Cakes cupcakes adorned a table in the back of the venue, with a variety of options including a French toast cupcake.

A celebrity wall for photographs to be taken filled the hallway, and committee members were easily spotted wearing glimmering tiaras that added to the magic of the evening. After attendees sipped on drinks, nibbled and noshed on hors d’oeuvres and chatted among themselves after perhaps putting in a bid to the silent auction—the speaking program began.

Celebrity emcee Brian Griese told the touching story of his passion for cancer research after the loss of his mother, and graciously and humorously introduced the speakers for the evening. Kasia Iwaniczko MacLeod shared her story in her battle with cancer, and was able to announce that Dr. Jennifer Diamond, one of her mother’s physicians, was one of the physicians whose research would be supported by the funds raised from the  event. Marti Awad, a courageous young woman and the youngest woman to take steps to prevent cancer with a double mastectomy, indicated how important it was to know and understand what cancer does and how it affects lives. Megan Fearnow stated that the reason the Salah Foundation was continuing to match contributions at this event for the third year in a row was because The University of Colorado Cancer Center was “on the tipping point of some very important breakthroughs that could contribute to serious change.”

As nods coursed through the room and women raised their cards to donate the much-needed funds, it was very apparent that this was more than just a fun night. Women in this room on stage and in the audience all were aware on a very personal level what this event was contributing to. Judy Delhey, a committee member for the event, summed up the spirit of the evening when she said, “Everyone is here to help focus on women, focus on what happens before cancer and to focus on what happens if you’re diagnosed. What do you do?”

It is apparent that every woman at this event wanted to both serve as support for those going through cancer as well as fight to find a way that women in the future would not have to make some of the same hard choices. An immense feeling of inspiration and genuine compassion radiated throughout the event as well as in the voices and hearts of every woman present.