Tanya Tucker Honors Breast Cancer Fighters, Survivors During Heartfelt Show
By Kelly Fisher
October 27, 2023
Tanya Tucker took the stage at the third-annual Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye fundraising event in Middle Tennessee earlier this month, headlining an evening honoring those lost, those still fighting and those who have survived it, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Tara Joseph, co-founder and CEO of Big Plan Holdings and the Joseph Family Foundation, serves as an organizer of the annual event benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She met co-chair Pam Goodwin through Instagram, and when asked about her interest in any involvement in a breast cancer awareness event, Joseph agree. She said during a recent call with iHeartCountry that several of her friends had gone through cancer, and luckily, and come out on the other side of it.
“I've watched their journey and I said, ‘absolutely,’ because breast cancer impacts so many people, not just women, men, but the caretakers and beyond,” Jospeh said. “Before we knew it, our small event that we had anticipated doing became this very large-scale event. …And we just realized that because it's so impactful in so many ways, why don't we bring the power of music and the power of these beautiful people that have been impacted — whether they survived or unfortunately did not survive, caretakers, family members, whatever — and let's bring them all together in a way that we can shed some life and educate and bring money to research and finding a cure.”
Jospeh and other organizers launched the first-ever Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye event during the COVID-19 pandemic, which came with its own set of challenges as they worked to ensure health and safety precautions, particularly working with immunocompromised people. The inaugural event featured country music legend Dolly Parton, followed by “I Love This Life” duo LOCASH the following year. Now, in its third year with recently-inducted Country Music Hall of Fame member Tucker headlining, Joseph said “the amount of love in that space and the amount of people and the stories that come out of it are so amazing.” She said that it often will “inspire you to participate for the next year,” and “actually fills your heart to be able to see that you’re making a difference in this world,” to try to bring a cure to a disease that impacts so many people.
Parton was also the first artist to sign on to sing “Pink,” a song written for one of Joseph’s co-chairs, Amy Fish, while she was battling breast cancer. The song represents Susan G. Komen, penned by Erin Kinsey, Jody Marr and Victoria Shaw. Other artists who signed on to sing the anthem for the breast cancer community — providing hope to survivors, patients and loved ones, per Susan G. Komen — include Monica, Jordin Sparks, Rita Wilson and Sara Evans. Shaw appeared in the audience at this year’s Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye event, receiving a standing ovation for pitching the song to Susan G. Komen’s CEO.
“It is a major honor, but it also speaks a lot to who these people are and how no matter where they are in their lives and the success that they brought, they want to be able to give back,” Joseph said of the artists who headline the annual event. “And again, it speaks to their character, their team, and it is so appreciative to see these incredible artists, incredibly talented artists, be able to come out and show their support in the way that they do. …Susan G. Komen doesn't typically offer concerts. They're all based on their walks. So, to be able to do something that's so different and out of the ordinary to shed light and to raise money for it, I mean, we are just truly honored and blessed that they're willing to do this for us.
“There are such heartfelt moments,” she said of Kiss Breast Cancer Goodbye. Joseph also noted a moment that Tucker signed a hat for a woman going through brain cancer, and took pictures in the middle of the performance. “So, all these moments are truly the reason we do what we do.”
Joseph emphasized the importance of keeping conversations about breast cancer going to remind and encourage others to get mammograms and other screenings to help with early detection.
“Don't wait until October to go get your mammograms,” she urged. “I think that health is very important. Never wait on screenings, never wait. If some doctor tells you that your mammogram looks abnormal and you need a follow up, please go do that. …I know people say that check for breast cancer when you're hitting your 40s, but the truth is, young women are finding out in their 20s, in their teens, and it is very frightening what's happening right now. There is a surge in an uptick of all these young women.
“So, I think that screening is important, not only the time during an October, but that should be an all year-round thing.”