Sue Weldon had a dream, and last year she shared her ideas for fullling that dream with her friends and colleagues. Sue, a gymnastics coach and breast cancer survivor, wanted to take her di‑cult experiences with breast cancer and turn them into something positive to help others. With the support of her employers at AJS Pancott Gymnastics, Steve and Louise Pancott, her plans gained momentum and grew to exceed everyone’s expectations. As partners, they created the Pink Invitational~Gymnasts Unite competition to educate and empower young female gymnasts with a greater understanding of breast cancer, and raise funds in support of women diagnosed with the disease. In its inaugural year, the Pink Invitational raised over $65,000 to benet Living Beyond Breast Cancer. eir work was recently recognized and celebrated by the USA Gymnastics community when they were named the recipient of the Region 7 Outstanding Service Award.
Region 7 includes USA Gymnastics clubs from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Last year they contributed over $800 to the cause, but even more signicant is the enthusiastic encouragement they have given. Lynn Perrott, Region 7 Administrative Committee Chairperson, said, “Region 7 is proud to recognize the outstanding eorts made by AJS Pancott and Sue Weldon in hosting the Pink Invitational. e meet was not only a huge success with the athletes as a competition, but also as a learning experience and an incredible achievement in raising funds for breast cancer support.” Region 7 has a 20-year history of giving the Outstanding Service Award to gymnastic clubs who show exceptional support for the region and/or service to the community. is year, the vote was unanimous. Region 7 has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to the Pink Invitational, and will sponsor the event again in 2010.
Upon receiving the news of this great honor, Sue said, “I cannot adequately express the gratitude and respect I have for Steve and Louise Pancott. eir willingness to take a leap of faith professionally and support my vision for the Pink Invitational speaks volumes about their commitment to the gymnastics community, educating young gymnasts about healthy lifestyle choices, and helping women with breast cancer.” In 2009, the Pink Invitational hosted over 1,100 female gymnasts from six states. e girls and young women that attended were empowered to give back to others through a sport they love. ere were various opportunities to contribute above and beyond the team competition and participating gyms embraced the challenge.