Don a pink boa and donate for breast cancer

What does a pink feather boa have to do with a 66-year-old grandmother, chef, cook book author and world traveler?  

For Carmela Tursi Hobbins, it’s become a call to action among her family and friends to raise awareness about breast cancer. Hobbins was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2012. Since then, the feather boa has been part of an annual challenge for her Facebook friends: she posts a photo of herself wearing a boa and donates $1 to Piper Breast Center for every “like”her post receives.

This year, Hobbins is upping the ante. As a five-year cancer survivor, she plans to match donations to Piper Breast Center up to $5,000. Her slogan is “Don a pink boa and donate for breast cancer.” She’s also hoping to engage even more people in the effort and has launched a Facebook page to help: Carmela’s 2017 Pink Boa Challenge. Page visitors are invited to post a photo of themselves wearing a pink boa as well as to donate to help meet the challenge. 

The $5,000 challenge is about much more than raising money,explained Hobbins. “The donation is very important, but I also use this as an opportunity to remind my friends to get an annual mammogram and do monthly self-exams,” said Hobbins. “When I went through chemo, I was supported by a huge circle of friends and family. They were there for me.” She thinks of her fundraising challenge as a way to let them know that she cares about them and that she’s grateful for their support and friendship.

In celebrating five years as a cancer survivor, Hobbins is also thinking about her late husband, Bob Hobbins, who died on New Year’s Day in 2016 after being treated for multiple myeloma. “It’s really because of him that I’m still here and able to volunteer and support the causes I care about,”she said. 

Donate today

Help support the Pink Boa Challenge: Visit Carmela’s 2017 Pink Boa Challenge page on Facebook, make a donation at, or mail your donation to: Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation, 800 E. 28thSt., MR 16509, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

Carmela Tursi Hobbins 

Carmela Hobbins