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News personalities unite to fight breast cancer

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When Washington’s female television news personalities throw a party, you can expect something of a Hollywood flavor. In fact, they call it a bash. And they call themselves “babes.”

The local news anchors put competing news ratings aside and came together to throw the recent fourth annual D.C. NewsBabes Bash for Breast Cancer at the Howard Theatre to raise money for a special van that provides free mammogram services.

Nearly 350 breast cancer survivors, supporters and people in media mingled over pop music, drinks, Georgetown Cupcakes and gelato as cameras flashed often at the 40 news anchors celebs. Pink was very much the fashion color of choice; the lights were tinted with it and so were a great many cocktail dresses and ties.

This year, the D.C. NewsBabes invited their male counterparts, dubbed the “Men in Pink.” They included Leon Harris, Juan Williams, Bob Madigan and Ed Henry, all donning pink button-down shirts donated by one of the night’s sponsors, Alton Lane.

The event raised $18,000 through tickets and sponsorships for George Washington University’s “Mammovan,” which screens 2,500 women in the region annually, particularly in low-income communities.

“All these women who generally are competitors get together and it’s such a terrific example of doing the right thing,” said Dr. Rachel Brem, director at the university’s Breast Imaging and Intervention Center. She said the donations will cover six days of the van’s services, which typically costs $3,000 a day.

The news anchors originally assembled in 2009 when former WJLA ABC 7 anchor Kathleen Matthews, now an executive at Marriott, rounded up a group of women television anchors to do a charity fashion show. Since then, the group branded themselves and, despite each one’s various charity commitments, rallied around breast cancer and began planning a fundraiser each year. Funds originally supported Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This year the group decided to focus on a hometown breast cancer organization.

“The Mammovan is such a great fit for a group of local news anchors,” said Laura Evans of WTTG Fox 5.

This year the event also included anchors from network news shows.

Other anchor women included Andrea Mitchell, recently diagnosed with breast cancer; Jennifer Griffin, a breast cancer survivor; Angie Goff; Pamela Brown; Brianna Keilar; Cynne Simpson; Eun Yang; Anita Brikman; Lesli Foster; Hillary Howard; Shawn Yancy; Alison Starling; Doreen Gentzler; Rebecca Cooper; Andrea Roane; Britt McHenry and Sue Palka.

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