Imagine the shock just a few months later when Mango’s bartender Colleen Richter Walthour was diagnosed with breast cancer. Such horror seems too awful to be true, but that is the repugnance of this terrible disease. Cancer is a monster.In life, when we are faced with devastating circumstances, we have two choices. We can choose to fall into the abyss of negativity or we can gather the strength and courage to move forward and fight back. The owners and staff of Mango’s chose to fight back and deliver a punch in support of Colleen in this most challenging battle.
Like Rick Feinman, Colleen is a friend to all and loved by many. That was quite evident at the recent fundraiser held at Mango’s. It was standing room only and you were lucky if you could even find a place to stand! Hundreds of people packed the house to enjoy a buffet of substantial appetizers and happy hour drink prices, all in honor and support of Colleen. The evening was one of positivity and optimism as good friends shared good times for a good cause.The musical sounds of Trevor kept the crowd entertained. Raffle items included gift certificates to various local businesses and the grand prize of a guitar that was personally autographed by Jimmy Buffett. A 50-50 drawing was held to raise additional funds, while bidding was fierce for several silent auction items. Donated items included wine and cheese baskets, a three-night stay at San Marco Residences, a boat cruise for six on the Calusa Spirit, a three-hour manatee ecotour with Double R’s Fishing & Tour Co., a sunset dinner cruise on the Marco Island Princess, a Make a Memory gift basket and gift cards to Outback Steakhouse, Island Gypsy, Kay’s On the Beach, Jump Hair Salon, Ciao Bella Ristorante Italiano, Dolphin Cove Marina, and of course, Mango’s Dockside Bistro. Colleen was strong and beautiful through it all. Her life has changed from being the one who is mixing the cocktails to being one who is forced to endure a different kind of cocktail. A “chemo cocktail” is the nickname given to a combination of chemotherapeutic drugs. In her case, the cocktail includes the drug Adriamycin (generic title Doxorubicin), unaffectionately referred to as the “red devil.” This drug is known for its strong side effects, including that of hair loss. But it is also known for its powerful kick in the “you know what” against cancer. I, for one, know that for a fact. I am a breast cancer and red devil survivor of more than 22 years. In 22 years, Colleen will be saying the same thing. Those of us who know her, can attest to the fact that she is a force to contend with. Without a doubt, she will be kicking cancer in the “you know what”! Five percent of the funds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society. An additional five percent will be donated to Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support, Inc., a local charity that offers physical, emotional and educational support to those facing a breast cancer diagnosis. The remaining funds will help Colleen with her extensive expenses due to treatments. If you missed the event, but would still like to support Colleen, please visit www.gofundme.com/6v9zn-team-colleen.