Carter’s Champions

Cancer is terrible. It is a plague on our loved ones, sometimes destroying families and homes. Everyone knows someone who has had to deal with this terrible disease, and so everyone has some understanding of how it truly impacts a life. It can be the worst thing imaginable, and it can be hard to find the help you need. Sometimes, when the worst happens to you or your family the best place to look for help is right here at home. Carter’s Champions, co-founded by Jourdan Derouen and John Carter, is a community-minded charity here on the Gulf Coast dedicated to raising funds and awareness for breast cancer. Known for their engaging events, Carter’s Champions brings the community together in creative and joyful ways to support a vital cause.

            “I want to get people together, help the community. Our focus is breast cancer at the moment, and we give 100% of our money to Memorial Hosptial Foundation.” Says Jourdan Derouen, co-founder. “We started it in 2016, with my co-founder John Carter. John’s the one that brought me in to it because of my marketing abilities. Now we have over 10 board members.”

            The Pink Dress Run is the highlight of Carter’s Champions’ annual events. Scheduled for October 22, 2024, this lively 5K run/walk invites participants to don pink dresses and take to the streets of Gulfport. Starting at 11:00 AM at the Chandeleur Island Brewing Company, the event promises a full day of fun and celebration. After the run, participants can enjoy live music from The Four d’oeuvres and DJ J. Eagle, partake in karaoke, and explore various activities for all ages. This year’s event features a “Best Dressed in a Pink Dress” contest with a $500 prize, a “Pink Pet” contest, survivor tent activities, and even mobile axe throwing. Kids can enjoy dedicated activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

            “We have a stage, and it’s an opportunity for survivors to tell their stories. Sometimes we’ll have 15 people telling their stories, sometimes we’ll have 35 or 40.” Says Derouen. “It’s pretty powerful. There are people who have battled it for their firt year, people that got diagnosed last week, we’ve got people who’ve had it three or four times. We’re just like ‘here’s a mic.’”

            Another exciting event on the calendar is the Pink Boat Parade, also known as “Boating for Boobies,” is set to take place on July 27th starting at 11:00 AM at Captain Al’s Steak & Seafood in Gulfport. This event sees the Gulf Coast waters come alive with boats decked out in pink, a floating spectacle to raise breast cancer awareness. It’s a unique and visually stunning way for the community to show support​.

            “We’re making a dent down here.” Says Derouen. “It’s one of those things where you just don’t give up.”

            These events are more than just festive gatherings; they make a significant impact. All proceeds benefit the Memorial Hospital Foundation, directly supporting local breast cancer patients by providing financial assistance for their treatment and care. This ensures that the funds raised stay within the community, helping those who need it most.

            Getting involved with Carter’s Champions is easy and fulfilling. With busnesses like Jersey Mike’s, Mitchell Distributing, and FEB on their side you can be certain you’re joining a winning team. Whether you participate in the events, volunteer, or donate, your contribution makes a difference. For the latest updates and to find out how you can help, visit their website or follow them on social media. The organization frequently updates their event calendar and offers various opportunities for involvement throughout the year.

            “John and I our so grateful for our board, and our friends, and our families.” Sayd Derouen with a smile.

            Carter’s Champions is more than just an organization; it’s a community effort to support and uplift those affected by breast cancer. By joining their events or contributing in any way, you become part of a larger mission to make a positive impact, one pink dress and boat at a time.

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