© John Cheng

Nearly 1,500 gymnasts from the Mid-Atlantic states raised more than $160,000 to help women with breast cancer at the 2011 Pink Invitational~Gymnasts Unite meet, held earlier this year in West Chester, Pa. Proceeds from the three-day competition and outreach event benefit Unite for HER (UFH), a breast cancer nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs and initiatives that educate, empower and restore. Hosted for a third year by AJS Pancott Gymnastics NTC, located in West Chester, the Pink Invitational brought a message of unity, hope, and joy to many families.

The Pink Invitational inspired 25 teams to hold local fundraisers and collectively raise more than $45,000 for UFH. The young women participating in the event received educational information about simple yet important choices they can make to guard their health and wellness.

New this year was the BRAVADO Inspirational Art Exhibit and Auction, sponsored by GK Elite Sportswear. Celebrity gymnasts and others joined community members and participating gyms to create embellished sports bra masterpieces that were displayed at the Pink Invitational.

Each aspect of the event was designed to educate, increase awareness, encourage unity, and raise funds for women affected by the disease. Pink Invitational founder Sue Weldon believes the success of this outreach comes from the generous and unwavering support shown by the local and gymnastics communities. She is humbled each year by the outpouring of donations and sponsorships that have enabled the Pink Invitational to raise a total of more than $350,000 in the last three years .