‘Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid’: Little Black Dress fundraiser to stream online

For the past 15 years, the Betty Kearns Little Black Dress event has been one of the Blue Water Area’s premier nights out on the town, an excuse to get dressed up and go out while raising money for an important cause.

And then COVID-19 reared its head, canceling large gatherings the world over.

Organizers of Little Black Dress, however, have an important message to share: Cancer doesn’t stop for Covid. So while the annual event won’t occur like it normally would, the party carries on, albeit in a slightly different setting.

“Last year we sold out with over 900 women attending,” says Amy Andrews-Curtis, committee chairperson for Little Black Dress. “It actually happened a week before everything started shutting down for Covid. We really hoped that this would be the first event back but that’s just not the case. So now we’re moving online.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Little Black Dress will be a virtual event, streaming online through Facebook Live on Friday, March 5. Guests are still encouraged to get dressed up, enjoy a cocktail and make a night of it. Dance like no one’s watching, as the old saying goes.

Each year, Little Black Dress raises tens of thousands of dollars to support patients and their families as they navigate the murky waters of cancer treatment. The money helps to offset the financial burden of treatment and can be used to help with travel expenses, utility bills, mortgage payments, and much more.

Since its inception, the event has raised over $200,000 for local cancer programs. The Kearns family themselves, who started the event to honor their mother and grandmother Betty, who they lost to breast cancer in 2006, have donated more than $125,000 to McLaren Port Huron cancer programs.

The Kearns family also established the Betty Kearns Cancer Fund through McLaren Port Huron Foundation. The fund assists patients who are experiencing financial difficulties and are seeking treatment, for any type of cancer, at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Port Huron.

“We’re so grateful for people’s support,” Andrews-Curtis says. “The event itself is a blast but the cause is still important. We’re trying to keep it together.”

This year, Little Black Dress is raising money through raffle ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities. Prizes include a gift card package to local businesses, a $300 value; a bundle of lotto tickets; a paddle board and Yeti cooler; the Touch a Freighter package, a water adventure that ferries passengers to a passing freighter; a 25-person catering package from Vintage House; and a trip to Mackinac Island, which includes a two-night stay at the Chippewa Hotel, golf at the Grand Hotel, and more.

Raffle tickets cost $5 each and there are awards for the people that buy the most tickets each week and the most overall.

The event itself will be a relatively quick one, says Andrews-Curtis. They’ll be broadcasting from Kate’s Downtown in Port Huron
where they’ll make their announcements, introduce the committee, and then reveal the winners.

“It will be pretty short and sweet,” she says.

Visit the Betty Kearns Little Black Dress event online to view the raffle packages, learn about sponsorship opportunities, and more.